Airport puts “environmental and social burden on communities”
London City Airport has criticised a report by a think tank suggesting it should be closed. The New Economics Foundation says the airport should be redeveloped as it accounts for only 2.4% of the UK capital’s total flight capacity and caters for rich travellers with an average income of £90,000 (€108,500).
“City Airport creates little value,” the report claims. “Despite occupying 500,000 square metres at the heart of London, its direct contribution to the UK economy in 2011 was £110 million – less than a fifth of the nearby ExCel Exhibition and Conference Centre.”
The foundation adds that the capital’s shortage of homes and the airport’s pollution levels meant its role had to be questioned.
“London City Airport places a significant environmental and social burden on neighbouring communities and gives back very little in return,” economist Helen Kersley told the BBC.
But a spokeswoman for the airport said it provided London’s “only direct route to the capital’s business, financial and political centres, facilitating inward investment and economic growth.”
Closing the airport would put 2,000 people out of work, prevent the creation of a further 1,500 jobs by 2023 and remove £750 million a year from the economy.