HC Deb 23 April 1990 vol 171 cc5-6
4. Mr. Colvin

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the traffic in terms of movements and passengers carried through London City airport in the last year for which figures are available.

The Minister for Aviation and Shipping (Mr. Patrick McLoughlin)

The Civil Aviation Authority tells me that in 1989 there were 11,789 air transport movements, and 216,000 terminal passengers at London City airport.

Mr. Colvin

Has my hon. Friend seen that London City Airways, Brymon Airways and Air France have all recently announced additional services from London City airport to the continent? Does he share their confidence in the future of London City airport as an airport capable of handling up to 1.5 million passengers a year, taking a great deal of pressure off the south-east, securing the jobs of 500 workers in Newham and producing a shop window for the world's most environmentally friendly airliner, the BAe 146? Will he give us a hint on whether he is in favour of London City airport?

Mr. McLoughlin

London City airport is an exciting private initiative funded totally by the private sector. It could play an important role in providing services for passengers and business people, particularly in the light of 1992 and all the opportunities that the single market will provide.

Mr. Spearing

Will the Minister look into some of the statistics that were mentioned by the hon. Member for Romsey and Waterside (Mr. Colvin)? Is he aware that, in respect of the hon. Gentleman's claim that there is scope for 500 employees from the London borough of Newham, unfortunately a number of people have been made redundant at the airport recently, and the rosy picture that the hon. Gentleman paints awaits a public inquiry, so we should await the results of that inquiry before reaching a conclusion?

Mr. McLoughlin

As the hon. Gentleman rightly points out, there is a public inquiry. However, most areas are pleased when airports are built because of the considerable employment that they bring. Everywhere where there are airports there are considerable developments and opportunities for local people and the travelling public.

Mr. Mans

Does my hon. Friend agree that in order to deal with increased traffic movements in the south-east, a decision needs to be taken soon about a fifth terminal at Heathrow?

Mr. McLoughlin

I note my hon. Friend's comments.

Mr. Snape

Does the Minister agree that London City airport would have been better planned as part of Britain's transport infrastructure rather than being left to the private sector?

Mr. McLoughlin


Mr. Snape

Good. I am glad that the Minister does not confirm that. Will he then confirm that the taxpayer will be expected to pick up the bill for the much needed infrastructure that should have been there in the first place?

Mr. McLoughlin

We know that if ever the Opposition were in government, the taxpayer would constantly pick up the bill because the Opposition would seek vengeance on the private sector.

Forward to