London City Airport is ready to play its part in the UK’s airport ‘capacity crisis’.
London City’s CEO Declan Collier told Airport World that LCY could help free up capacity at Heathrow by taking on some of its short haul and regional traffic.
The UK Government has accepted that the South East of England does need additional airport capacity, but has put off the decision until after the next general election.
The Government has set up an independent commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to look at the issue, but this will not be published until 2015.
Collier said: “I don’t have a crystal ball! I don’t know what will happen. Yes there is a massive debate over capacity in the South East and what’s the best solution.
“It is a huge issue for UK Inc. I think the whole issue around capacity and the uncertainty around capacity is a significant adverse factor with regard to the UK economy.
“If there was more clarity on that and moves made to improve capacity and more importantly connectivity, it would be more beneficial for the UK economy as a whole.
“What’s the solution to the problem? I don’t know whether it is providing a runway at Heathrow or building a brand new airport in the Thames Estuary, as has been suggested. I think either one of those can be a potential solution.”
Collier added: “But there are opportunities for London City to help in this situation.
“Heathrow is two or three years away in terms of a decision on what’s going to happen, then it’s another three or four years away in terms of actually implementing it.
“That’s a six or seven year timeframe. So in the short term, over that period, airports like London City have an opportunity to contribute.
“We have capacity here at LCY. We’re anxious to grow, we have the ability to grow, and I think we can help to solve the capacity issue at Heathrow by taking some of the short-haul and regional business, as we have been doing, into London City, and developing our business here, and creating some more space at Heathrow.”
London City current welcomes around 3.2 million passengers a year and handles 65,000 flights in and out of the airport. It has permission to grow this number 120,000 flight movements, and so has the potential to nearly double its current traffic.