London City Airport Consultative Committee

1982 Feasibility Study

- LDDC press release

Text of 1982 LDDC Press Release - Feasiblity Study on building an Airport in the Royal Docks




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4200 to 5000 Jobs for Docklands
The STOL aircraft
The Effect-on the Development of Docklands
Location of a STOLport
Environmental Impact
Demand for STOL services

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LDDC Logo24 August 1982


A feasiblity study on the siting of an airport in Docklands, published today, indicates that a STOLport could create between 4,200 and 5,000 jobs by 1990. The London Docklands Development Corporation commissioned this study from the Economic and Planning Transport Group following a proposal to site a STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) airport in the former Royal Docks, in the London Borough of Newham.

Reg Ward, Chief Executive of the LDDC, said today: "We feel that the development of the Royal Docks site is extremely important to Newham and to the whole of Docklands and decided that in order to be able to assess the STOL proposal we needed a feasibility study to look at all the factors involved in establishing and operating air transport facilities in the area". The LDDC, in conjunction with Newham Council. will also be carrying out an opinion poll in the residential areas of Newham which would be affected by such an airport. This market research will begin on Saturday 28 August after Newham Council has distributed a leaflet to residents summarising the results of the feasibility study.

The EPTG was asked to look at the commercial, environmental, financial and technical aspects of operating an airship, helicopter and STOL airport in Docklands and the Report concludes that both airships and helicopters are not realistic options for Docklands for technical and commercial reasons. Therefore the Report goes on to consider in detail the impact a STOLport would make.

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The STOL aircraft

The Report assesses that STOL aircraft are suitable for operation from a Docklands location because they:-

  • require significantly shorter runways than conventional aircraft
  • have steeper approach and climb out paths and a relatively slower cruising speed.

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The Effect-on the Development of Docklands

The Report calculated the amount of employment likely to be generated by a STOLport, and the scale of additional employment such a STOLport might encourage.

The total number of on-site airport jobs likely to be created by 1990, given that one million passengers a year use the STOLport, would be 7,700. In the first year of operation this would mean about 400 jobs. 150 off-site jobs and 250 secondary -jobs would also be created.

Of the 1,100 on-site Jobs, 800 could be filled by local people and all the 400 off-site and secondary jobs could also be done by a local workforce.

The total local job creation impact of the STOLport could, therefore, amount to 1,200.

The Report estimates that the existence of a STOLport will improve inter-city accessibility to the extent that this will have a significant 'induced employment' impact - jobs relating to activities which are near the STOLport but are not directly or indirectly involved with it.

The Report conservatively estimates that about 1,000 office jobs and between 1,250 and 1,900 jobs in high technology manufacturing activities would be generated and this induced employment would lead to further secondary jobs of 450 to 580. Therefore, the final total, including on-site, off-site, induced and secondary employment would provide between 4,200 and 5,000 jobs in docklands.

The only fully-certificated aircraft available is a De-Haviland DHC-7 (known as the Dash 7) which is capable of 7.5O approaches. The DHC-7's engines have been designed to be very quiet, and their slow turning propellers are said to contribute to the very low levels of noise imposed on the surrounding community in comparison to conventional aircraft.

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Location of a STOLport

The Report identifies the most promising site as the landing strip at the eastern end of the central pier dividing the Royal Albert and King George V Docks. This site has the main advantage that much of the area for the STOLport public safety zone is covered bv water and the 200 metre dock on each side of the landing strip provides a natural noise buffer between the STOLport, other site users and the local community.

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Environmental Impact

In assessing the environmental impact of such an airport the study plots flight paths for the STOL services and measured the cumulative effect of Dash-7 aircraft noise for the various phases of flight. The Department of the Environment has planning guidelines for the noise nuisance levels and these use the Noise and Number Index (NNI) to define the various levels. For the STOLport, much of the residential area to the south of King Georae V Dock lies within the 30-35 NNI contour. The noise nuisance guidelines indicate that while at 35 NNI there would be some aircraft noise, it is the 40 NNI figure which defines the level at which there would be constraint on residential, school and hospital development. No other existing residential area appears to be affected. The 30-35 NNI contour represents a level of noise experienced in the West End, Westminster, Teddington, Addlestone and Esher from aircraft using Heathrow airport.

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Demand for STOL services

The main market for a Docklands STOLport is the inter- city business market and for the airport to be feasible it would have to attract business travellers from existing methods of transport - conventional air, rail and road.

The potential market for a STOLport, as assessed by the Report using a forecasting technique, is 1.3 to 2 million passengers a year. However, taking into account the environmental implications of such a volume of traffic, the effect on air traffic control and existing route services, the Report suggests that the feasible market level is one million passengers a year by 1990.

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The results of the opinion poll will be carefully studied but no decisions will be made on whether to approve an application for planning permission until all the parties involved have been consulted.


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An independent Consultative Committee established by London City Airport pursuant to Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982
John Adshead     Secretary: Stuart Innes

Page last modified: 25th August 2007