London City Airport: A quarter of flights depart with fewer than half of seats filled, data suggests
and live on Freeview channel 276
The data comes as the airport looks to expand its operations, with an appeal due to go before the planning inspectorate later this year.
The figures, unveiled by Zack Polanski who, as well as being the Green deputy leader is also a London assembly member, indicate a total of 2,945 flights left the east London airport half-empty between January and June this year, equating to 24.2% of all departures over the period.
Sourced from passenger flights information gathered by the Civil Aviation Authority, the data for the first three months of the year was particularly damning, when 31% of flights appear to have filled less than half of their seats. This had dropped to 18% for the following three months.
London City Airport earlier this year had an application to expand its operations unanimously rejected by Newham Council, after concerns were raised over issues such as noise and the impact on air pollution. The airport subsequently filed an appeal with the planning inspectorate, with a public inquiry due to be held later this year.
Mr Polanski said: “The audacity of London City Airport to push for expansion when they are not even close to filling their current flights is mystifying. In the middle of a climate emergency, the last thing we should be doing is expanding half empty airports.
“This new data shows exactly how London City’s business model welcomes – if not relies on – half empty flights as long as they run more frequently, with no regard for the carbon they spew into the atmosphere or the likelihood of economic failure.
A London City Airport spokesperson said: “Planes to and from London City in the first six months of this year were on average 70% full, which is standard for our airlines.
“75% of planes departing from London City during this period were almost 80% full – higher than pre-pandemic levels.
“Our proposals seek to increase the current passenger limit to accommodate future growth over the next 10 years, without any increase in the number of permitted annual flights.
“If approved, our proposals could create 4,500 additional jobs across London and an additional £702 million in Gross Value Added to London’s economy.”