Newcastle Airport pushes for Heathrow expansion after Boris Island plans rejected

Airports Commission rule out Thames Estuary plan championed by the Tory Mayor of London Boris Johnson

Foster + Partners/PA Wire Artist's impression issued by Foster + Partners of the Thames Hub
Artist's impression issued by Foster + Partners of the Thames Hub

Airport bosses are celebrating after “wasteful” plans for a new London aviation hub dubbed ‘Boris Island’ were rejected.

The Airports Commission has ruled out the £100bn airport in the Thames Estuary, championed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, as the Government aims to boost runway capacity in the capital.

Campaigners will now lobby the Government to choose expansion of Heathrow - which operates connecting flights to the North - as opposed to Gatwick as the best option.

Dave Laws, chief executive of Newcastle International Airport, said the estuary scheme was “wasteful”.

He said: “The Government should recognise that it is in the interests of the UK that it retains its important hub role, and plan for additional hub capacity to serve London and the rest of the UK.

“Heathrow Airport presents the most viable and deliverable option.

“Heathrow is the largest hub airport serving the North East, with almost 500,000 people flying between Newcastle and Heathrow a year, and up to seven BA services a day.

Graeme Mason, Planning & Corporate Affairs Director at Newcastle International Airport
Graeme Mason, Planning & Corporate Affairs Director at Newcastle International Airport
 

“Without additional runway capacity, these services risk being squeezed out in future years.

“The services we have delivered to other hubs are complimentary to, not instead of, Heathrow.

“The so-called ‘Boris Island’ option of a new airport in the Thames Estuary would be too expensive, and the associated proposal to close and demolish Heathrow we consider to be both unlikely and wasteful.

“We strongly believe that Heathrow is the most viable option and it is important that the North East continues to support the expansion of Heathrow going forward.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson reacted with fury to the decision by the Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies.

He said: “In one myopic stroke the commission has set the debate back by half a century and consigned their work to the long list of vertically-filed reports on aviation expansion that are gathering dust on a shelf in Whitehall.”

The former Etonian will contest the Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat at the 2015 General Election, a constituency which borders Heathrow.

Sir Howard told the BBC: We think it’s [the estuary scheme] too risky.

“The logistical challenges of shifting an airport 17 miles across London are immense.

“The surface access requirements to it are very complicated and we simply think that there’s a strong chance that you would never actually get it built.”

The commission is due to make its final report to ministers in summer 2015 - after the general election.

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