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NEWS Last modified on November 21, 2013

Centre of London moving east?

A new report from London City Airport (LCY), ‘Transforming East London Together’, claims that huge investments have resulted in the centre of the capital moving east.

Launched yesterday in partnership with local businesses, the report states up to 50,000 new jobs will be created in the next 10 years in London’s Royal Docks – dubbed the ‘crown jewels of East London’.

Businesses in the area are due to attract more than 12 million visitors a year and will generate more than £75 billion for the UK economy by 2023, with a further minimum contribution of £7 billion annually thereafter.

By 2030, the docks and surrounding area – including Canary Wharf and Stratford’s international quarter – will support more than 300,000 jobs, the report claims.

While almost half of London’s new housing is being built in the east, the region has the largest population growth forecast and more business start-ups than any other part of the city.

At the heart of this growth, and fully prepared to take on the challenge, is the airport itself.

Chief executive, Declan Collier, said: “It’s no coincidence that the airport is on track for a record-breaking year in terms of passenger numbers, nor is it a coincidence that UK and foreign investors are showing great belief in London’s Royal Docks.”

The airport plans to add an extra 1,500 staff to its existing workforce of 2,000 by 2023, and aims to double its economic contribution to £1.5 billion in the same period.

Collier told Airport World: “There’s a big development going on at the airport itself. We submitted plans in April for that development. It will cost around £400 million and will double the size of the airport.”

While LCY handles 3.5 million passengers annually at the moment, Collier expects that figure to double within the next five years, as well as handling twice the number of flights.

“Very excitingly, one of the drivers for this growth is next generation aircraft,” he said.

“We’re currently limited in range at the airport to flights of around 1,000 miles. With new aircraft, we’ll be able to move out to 3-3,500 nautical miles, like direct flights to the Gulf, Turkeys, the Balkans, and right down the east coast of the US.”

He said that already there were existing airlines and new starters interested to flying to LCY from the Middle East.

In terms of infrastructure development, the airport plans to add a parallel taxiway beside its runway as well as seven new stands, upping capacity from 38 to 52 ATMs per hour.

Phase one of the development will also comprise doubling the size of the passenger terminal.

“Phase two, which we expect to be on to by 2020, is what we’re calling an arrivals building. It will allow us to maintain our proposition of speed and convenience.”

The airport is well known for its fast passenger processing, with many travellers completing their airport journey in less than 15 minutes, whether they are arriving or departing.

Alongside the ExCeL convention centre and the University of East London, as well as significant investment from The Silvertown Partnership and ABP, the airport is part of a team dedicated to boosting the region’s popularity.

Collier added: “We’ve got some great individual players – now is the time to show the strength of the whole squad.”

The companies also note the benefit of the introduction of Crossrail from 2018, which will greatly improve connectivity to the area.

Sarah Parker, director of London region, CBI, commented: “Following the huge success of the 2012 Olympics, East London has a real opportunity to be at the forefront of London’s economic growth in the coming decade.”

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