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£340m airport expansion to boost East London's events appeal

Plans include 60 per cent more flights, an extended terminal, a new aircraft taxiway and improved public transport

Pictured: London City Airport

The government has approved a £344 million expansion to London City Airport in a decision that the capital's convention bureau says will provide a welcome boost for venues in the east of the city.

Expansion plans include an extended terminal, a new aircraft taxiway and improved public transport links, and is expected to double the number of passengers to reach six million each year by 2023.

Venues such as ExCeL London, next door to the airport, should expect to benefit, said Tracy Halliwell, director of business tourism and major events at London & Partners. She added: "East London has become more and more popular with event planners and delegates, and this new extension to London City Airport will make it even easier and faster to get to some of London’s key venues, adding to the area's existing appeal."

Meanwhile, the expansion announcement was criticised by Peter Simpson, CEO of bmi regional, who said priority should be given to a decision on a third Heathrow runway, which would better service the rest of the UK.

"Given the benefit to the entire UK of increased air capacity and the need to re-establish regional links to hub-networks, the decision on London Airport expansion must be expedited. Improved UK regional connectivity must be a vital part of any Heathrow expansion plan, to ensure economic growth is not, yet again centred around the capital," he said.

"The UK Government states that it is committed to stimulating economic growth outside of London; delivering efficient world-wide hub accessibility from UK regions would align with this stated goal. Indeed we would welcome a discussion on how this could be delivered earlier than increased capacity through a third Heathrow runway would currently allow - we're not sure why the UK Government has to wait any longer."

The London City Airport project, which will create more than 2,000 jobs, is expected to raise the number of take-offs and landings at the airport by almost 60 per cent, from 70,000 a year to 111,000.

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