UK’s Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, confirmed his support for a greenfield development to serve London and the south-east of England (Telegraph/BBC News/TTG Live/Guardian, 18-Jan-2011). The mayor released a report that stated the UK economy and the London region would inevitably suffer, with jobs and tourism moving to European rivals unless a new hub airport was created in the region. While not making reference to a particular site, Mr Johnson will release a second report later in 2011 that will list a “range of locations for new airport capacity”. The coalition government has ruled out growing capacity at London’s airports, saying it is working to “develop more sustainable aviation”. Mr Johnson reaffirmed his opposition to expansion of existing London airports, stating his government has “made clear that we do not support the construction of additional runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted”, but prefers the idea of new airport development. Passenger demand for London's airports is forecast to increase from 140 million passengers a year in 2010 to 400 million passengers a year by 2050, according to the report. Highlights of the report include:
- The number of destinations directly served from Heathrow is 157, compared with Paris CDG’s 224 and Frankfurt’s 235;
- In terms of destinations served by worldwide international airports, Heathrow had fallen from second in the world in 1990 to seventh in 2010 in terms of international destinations served;
- Heathrow handles around 75,000 more passengers a day than it was built for and its runways operate at above 99% of capacity;
- 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.
Mayor of London: "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 … 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." Boris Johnson, mayor. Source: BBC News, 18-Jan-2011.
Transport for London: "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." Daniel Moylan, a member of Transport for London. Source: Guardian, 18-Jan-2011.