Skip navigation

The Reader: London City Airport has to shut down, not expand

The Reader: London City Airport has to shut down, not expand

Vlachos, Peter ORCID: 0000-0002-4870-9006 (2019) The Reader: London City Airport has to shut down, not expand. Evening Standard. p. 15. ISSN 2041-4404

27773 VLACHOS_London_City_Airport_Has_To Shut_Down_2019.pdf - Draft Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (155kB) | Preview


In the early autumn of 2019, the environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion launched a series of actions around the world, including in London. Many of these actions were intentionally disruptive in high circulation areas such as city centres, bringing to a halt road traffic in order to draw attention to the pollution caused especially by carbon-emitting human activities. Another high-profile action was the attempt to disrupt operations at London City Airport (LCY).

This leading comment, published both in print and digitally, opens with an acknowledgement that the methods used by the protesters may be questionable, but maintains that the ultimate aims of such protests are valid. Using statistics from independent civil aviation agencies and LCY itself, the article traces the steep growth in passenger numbers and aircraft movements since its opening. LCY recently announced intentions of growing its capacity even further.

The article criticises the public relations methods used by LCY. Mock visual representations of the proposed expansion scheme de-personalise the surrounding residential areas and misappropriate nearby public and private green spaces to give the impression that these belong to LCY. The ultimate economic benefit of the airport accrues to private and foreign conglomerates. Meanwhile, local communities lack basic services.

An argument is constructed that proposes a radical alternative, as yet unexplored, to the proposed expansion, namely, to shut down the airport and relocate it a safer, non-residential brownfield site outside of London connected by public transport. Similar inner city airports in other parts of the world similarly have previously been shut and relocated, for example Kowloon airport in Hong Kong and Ellinikon airport in Athens.

The piece draws a response from the editor, who offers a rebuttal in defence of LCY airport that focuses on the alleged economic benefits. The main criticisms made by article however remain largely unanswered.

The article's contribution is significant in that it puts into the public domain an alternative future vision for land currently occupied by LCY airport. It is a particularly timely intervention in light of the current wide-scale protests and ongoing wider redevelopment of London's east docklands. The publication in which the comment appears has daily readership of 1,204,000 (print) and 1,273,000 (digital).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Letter to the Editor.
Uncontrolled Keywords: airport expansion, public protest, environmentalism, aviation industry, visual rhetoric
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Marketing, Events & Tourism
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2020 13:02

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics