Business leaders based across London have backed expansion at City airport (LCY), following a report which showed development could bring billions of pounds worth of European trade to the UK.

An Oxford Economics report found trips from the airport, based in East London, can be associated with £11 billion of UK trade exports to 10 key European markets.

Alongside the report, a survey of 1,000 “business decision-makers” across central London showed 73 per cent back expansion plans set out in the City Airport Development Programme.

The figures have been published as an 11-day public inquiry finishes regarding the proposed airport expansion plans.

In March last year, London mayor Boris Johnson turned down a £220 million bid by LCY for expansion, which included plans to create seven new aircraft stands, a parallel taxiway and terminal extensions to the west and east, which LCY said would enable up to 6.5 million passengers by 2025.

Planning permission was granted by the council in February but was subject to the mayor’s approval. Speaking at the time a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said he believed the scheme would lead to an “unacceptable increase in noise for East Londoners” without benefitting the city.

He said he was also unwilling to expose East London to an increase in noise on the basis that he had already argued it would be unacceptable for West London if Heathrow Airport were expanded.

LCY CEO Declan Collier said: “London City Airport is poised to provide an interim solution to much needed aviation capacity in the south east.

“Today’s report and survey prove that our expansion would provide clear benefits for the UK economy and that there is a huge appetite among key business leaders, who rely on air connectivity for their companies to thrive.

“If we get the green light, we can start delivering extra capacity within 18 months, meeting this demand and increasing our contribution to both the local and national economies, from our location just a few miles from London’s key financial and business districts,” said Collier.

Last year, the airport attracted a record 4.3 million passengers – the largest since it opened in 1987. In February it was sold to a Canadian consortium for £2 billion.

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