Boris Johnson calls for new airport in the south east

London mayor Boris Johnson today backed a report calling for a brand new south-east England airport.

Overseen by Transport for London deputy chairman Daniel Moylan, the report said the UK economy would suffer and London lose jobs to its European competitors unless a new hub airport was created in south-east England.

Releasing the report today, Mr Johnson said: "For London to retain its position as the heartbeat of global business, we need aviation links that will allow us to compete with our rivals."

While the coalition Government has ruled out new runways in south-east England, Mr Johnson has long favoured a new airport in the Thames estuary.

Today's report does not specify a particular site for a new airport but another Mr Johnson-commissioned report later this year will consider a range of locations for new airport capacity.

This will include options for a new airport which could be in the Thames estuary, as well as consideration of existing sites with the exception of Heathrow.

Mr Johnson's backing for expansion not only puts him at possible loggerheads with the Government but also with those opposing airport growth, including residents' groups and conservationists.

Today's report said that in terms of destinations served by worldwide international airports, Heathrow had fallen from second in 1990 to seventh in 2010.



The number of destinations that can be directly accessed from Heathrow was now 157 compared to 224 from Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport and 235 from Frankfurt.

The report said that this showed that London's only hub airport was losing out to other European airports, which if sustained could have long-term damaging effects for the economies of London and the UK.

The report also said that an additional 85 million passengers a year or 564,000 annual flights could be generated at London's airports within the environmental targets the Government has adopted.

It added that runway utilisation at Heathrow and Gatwick airports was operating at approximately 99%. This was causing delays and reliability problems. Heathrow is handling up to 75,000 more passengers a day than it was built for.

Runway utilisation was typically 70-75% at other major European hub airports.

The report said the Government was forecasting considerable growth in aviation demand within environmental limits. To ensure that this growth was accommodated to the benefit of the economy of London and the UK without harmful environmental consequences, the report called on the Government to adopt a fresh approach and develop a comprehensive strategy for aviation growth for London and the UK.

Mr Johnson said: "The capital's airports are full, our runways are rammed and we risk losing jobs to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Madrid or other European cities should we fail to act.

"No other city even approaches the volume of passengers handled at London's airports but we need to start planning for a brand new airport that can help meet the ever-increasing demand for aviation and act as a hub, particularly to the rest of the UK."

But Mr Johnson reiterated this cannot be at any cost and reaffirmed his opposition to expansion of Heathrow.Mr Moylan said: "We have produced this report to understand the importance of aviation to London and the results are compelling.

"London and the rest of the UK have prospered greatly because of our air links with the rest of the world. If we are to continue to prosper in the future, our airports and aviation links have to be able to grow in a way that meets future needs."

He went on: "This report makes the case for new airport capacity to serve London and for this to be provided at a new hub airport, although not necessarily on a new site.

"Extra capacity at a hub airport is crucial if we are to support the rebalancing of the UK economy, which this Government seeks, while remaining consistent with the mayor's goals of improving the quality of life of all Londoners and reducing transport's contribution to climate change."

The report was launched as Mr Johnson hosted a London seminar on south east England aviation capacity attended by business leaders.

Ahead of the seminar, London First chief executive Baroness Jo Valentine said: "London's links to the world are one of its greatest assets, and critical to business. There will be difficult balances to strike, but to remain globally competitive London international air links will need to grow in the next decade.

"The Government should consider all options based on their merits and the UK's long-term prosperity. Ruling out solutions on the grounds of politics can only undermine the credibility of its proposed review."

Simon Buck, chief executive of the British Air Transport Association, said: "We are pleased that the mayor and his team recognise the huge importance of aviation to London's economy and the need for increased capacity at our airports to accommodate future growth.

"There needs to be a proper debate about the UK's airport capacity as the Government has yet to be persuaded of the need for new development in south east England."

Anti-Heathrow airport expansion group Hacan has claimed that Mr Johnson is "on a collision course" with the Government over his aviation policy and that there is no business case for a new airport.

London Assembly Green Party member Darren Johnson said: "The mayor needs to give up his dead duck plans for a new airport. For a mayor who claims to be concerned about climate change, building a new airport is the last thing he should be considering.

"There has been significant opposition to this idea from local people, politicians and from environmental campaigners. The mayor would better represent Londoners' interests by pushing for investment in alternatives to aviation, such as improved and more affordable rail services."

Rodney Chambers, the leader of Medway Council in Kent, said: "I believe it is time that Boris Johnson realises that his pie-in-the-sky Thames Estuary airport plan will never get off the ground.

"It has already been rejected by the Government and the aviation industry - with nine out of 10 air carriers saying they oppose the scheme.

"Yet, despite this, the mayor seems intent on carrying on regardless, wasting public money to try and get support for his project."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We welcome the mayor's input and his suggestions will be considered alongside the many other contributions to the debate about our future aviation strategy.

"However, we have made clear that we do not support the construction of additional runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted.

"That is why we are working with interested parties to develop a new framework for aviation which is more sustainable but still supports economic growth."

In a foreword to the report, Mr Johnson said: "I welcome the review of national aviation policy announced by the Government but it is essential that it captures the significance of aviation growth to London and the UK's economic future.

"The new Government must act swiftly to address the difficult questions that previous governments have failed to grasp. And the correct decisions must be made now in order to stimulate the continued growth of London and the UK."

The report said: "The Mayor is keen for a new airport in the Thames Estuary to be considered among the options. He acknowledges that it will require sustained political determination to deliver such an airport.

"The intention at this stage is to stimulate further debate with the aim of building a consensus around a long-term vision which will complement the work of others."

The report defined a hub airport as a location at which flights are organised in waves of arrivals and departures in order to allow large volumes of passengers to make a wide range of connections.

The report concluded that London was one of the few cities which might be able to successfully support two hub airports.

Matthew Knowles, spokesman for aerospace and defence organisation ADS, said: "The social and economic impacts of last year's Icelandic volcano eruption and the more recent disruption caused by snow showed that aviation is crucial to the UK's national well-being.

"The authorities at all levels must work together to deliver a fully-functioning air transport system and, while making no judgment on the mayor's proposals, the world-leading UK aerospace and airport supply industries are keen to work with the public sector to achieve this."

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Graduate Pricing Analyst - 6 months / 1 year analytical experience

£20000 - £25000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

IT Specialist for a one month cover role

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: IC...

History Teacher

£7200 - £36000 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education is...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits