New analysis released by London mayor Boris Johnson reveals that only a four runway hub airport would allow the capital to reach the emerging markets of the world.
It would potentially quadruple the number of destinations London serves in China and South America, destinations which can currently only be reached from the UK by travelling through rival hubs in Europe, and add another 50% more destinations in the US.
A single hub airport would also restore domestic routes to nine cities across the UK, many of which are only served by flights to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.
Restoring those routes would allow the UK’s entrepreneurs and manufacturers to trade with the rest of the world regardless of where they were based, Johnson argues.
As reported yesterday, he outlined three possible new London hub airport options as part of a submission to the government’s Airports Commission with a site on the Isle of Grain in north Kent the preferred option over a hub on an artificial island in the Thames estuary.
Developing Stansted into a four-runway airport is also seen as an alternative.
This would result in Heathrow being closed and redeveloped as a new town housing up to 250,000 people.
A new hub airport, in a proper location, would release the huge development potential that is buried beneath the tarmac at Heathrow, creating thousands of new jobs, Johnson claims.
He said: “Ambitious cities all over the world are already stealing a march on us and putting themselves in a position to eat London’s breakfast, lunch and dinner by constructing mega airports that plug them directly into the global supply chains that we need to be part of.
“Those cities have moved heaven and earth to locate their airports away from their major centres of population, in areas where they have been able to build airports with four runways or more.
“For London and the wider UK to remain competitive we have to build an airport capable of emulating that scale of growth.
“Anyone who believes there would be the space to do that at Heathrow, which already blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners, is quite simply crackers.”
Daniel Moylan, the mayor’s chief adviser on aviation, added: “Heathrow can never solve our problems and our studies show that we’re better off with a new site.
“The immense noise, pollution and congestion that would result from expanding an airport located in the heart of our suburbs would potentially devastate the greatest city in the world.
“Whereas the three potential sites for a new hub airport portray a compelling vision for the infrastructure, the economy and the international competitiveness that London and the wider UK could benefit from if we take the clear opportunities that are in front of us.
“A new airport would be accompanied by world-class public transport connectivity, it would have the resilience to withstand the worst the UK’s weather has to offer; and it would have the capacity to save you from being stranded in a never ending spiral of aircraft over the suburbs.”
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