Meeting the group fighting flights at London City Airport

PUBLISHED: 17:30 29 March 2011 | UPDATED: 09:52 30 March 2011

Fight The Flights outside court

Fight The Flights outside court


A negative High Court decision would derail many campaigns, but for Fight the Flights (FTF) it has had the opposite effect.

FTF member Barry Griffin

A negative High Court decision would derail many campaigns, but for Fight the Flights (FTF) it has had the opposite effect.

Membership for the group, which was formed in 2008 in response to the application to increase London City Airport (LCA) flights by 50 per cent, is rising rapidly since the decision, according to campaign member Barry Griffin.

“Membership has tripled since the court case because so many people are unhappy with what’s happening,” he says. “It’s now around the 200 mark – people on the mailing list and those who keep in contact.

“We have business owners, unemployed people and members from all ethnic backgrounds.”

City Airport, in London's Docklands.


FTF’s legal team are working on an appeal to the January decision to allow annual flight traffic to increase to 120,000. The group, made up of 12 core members, now claims cross-borough support from Greenwich, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest.

But initially it struggled to get any recognition.

“At the start we were very polite and thought that as residents the councils would listen to us,” said FTF member (and chairman of his own campaignStop City Airport Masterplan) Alan Haughton.

“We were knocking on doors and having doors slammed in our face – and and at some point we had to kick the door in basically and say actually you have to listen.”

Mr Griffin, who works in marketing by day and handles FTF’s online activities during his spare time, stresses there is no anti-LCA sentiment.

“I have flown from LCA before – I can see the viability and why people would want to use it but it’s not down to saying, well, ‘let’s make ourselves bigger because we want a larger catchment area’. We’re just against the expansion.”

The group questions the overall need for flight expansion in London and welcomes high-speed rail and projects such as Crossrail.

But the number of flights isn’t its sole grievance. Mr Griffin, who has lived in an apartment in West Thamesmead since 2005, a mile from the tip of the runway, says the type of planes that use the airport is equally crucial to the case.

“At first I wasn’t affected or I wasn’t as bothered because it was mainly props [propeller instead of jet-propelled planes].

“The key change was from props to jets. The airport had around 30 per cent jets but with an increase to around 60 per cent of jets, that is going to have a dramatic effect on your lifestyle. ”

Friends of the Earth represented FTF at the court case against Newham Council, but the group has not been ‘hijacked’ by non-local environmental organisations, says Mr Griffin.

“We are generally interested locals that are now looking at the bigger picture and are interested in the wider environmental aspects.”

He maintains FTF just wants equal media coverage for its concerns, and a two-way dialogue with the airport’s management, both of which he says hasn’t happened so far.

“The message we were getting from the press was the airport was a fantastic business, it’s a viable business, one of the biggest businesses in the area, so of course we’re going to report everything and anything that goes on there.

“But we are a campaign that also has information and detail about the airport”

Latest East London News Stories

Yesterday, 18:01

Police investigating yesterday’s terrorist attack in Westminster have arrested a woman in east London.

Yesterday, 08:36

Some police in Tower Hamlets will be deployed on “public order aid” duties today following the terrorist attack in Westminster.

Wed, 18:00

A warning shot has been fired by the Salvation Army’s world leader on a visit London’s deprived East End about closing doors on people when the Prime Minister triggers Article 50 next week to quit the EU.

Wed, 16:37

A policeman and two members of the public are among four people killed in a major terrorist incident at the Houses of Parliament.

Wed, 16:16

A ukulele orchestra is calling on all uke players to join them in a Red Nose Day flashmob outside London Liverpool Street station.

Two people have died and others are seriously injured in a suspected terrorist incident at the Houses of Parliament.

Wed, 15:26

Ambitious expansion plans to rejuvenate east London’s historic Geffrye Museum have taken a major step forward today with a £12.3 million National Lottery windfall.

Wed, 14:51

The final public hearing opened today in the nine-year legal battle to stop developers “encroaching” on east London’s historic George Tavern music venue.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news


Show Job Lists


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now