‘Boris Island’ Airports Commission decision imminent

'Boris Island' Airports Commission decision imminentA decision could come as early as today or tomorrow over whether a Thames estuary airport should be added to a shortlist drawn up by the Airports Commission last year.

London mayor Boris Johnson’s scheme has already been thrown one lifeline after commission chairman Sir Howard Davies decided last year that further studies should be commissioned into an estuary airport, even though it failed to make the shortlist which included Heathrow and Gatwick.

Heathrow published an open letter to the mayor on Friday asking for his support if Sir Howard finally sidelines ‘Boris Island’ this week.

The letter was an opening salvo in what is expected to become an increasingly desperate dog-fight between Heathrow and Gatwick to gain the mayor’s favour.

But both airports are likely to be disappointed, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Johnson has long opposed expansion at Heathrow and the airport’s pleas for support are likely to fall on deaf ears.

But his view of Gatwick has also been negative. At a press conference in May, Johnson said that expanding Gatwick would be a “sham, a snare, a delusion”, adding: “Gatwick is not the answer … you don’t get the connectivity, you don’t get the hub.”

Responding to Heathrow’s letter about the UK’s airports expansion debate, a Gatwick spokesman said: 

“We will await the outcome of the Airports Commission’s decision on the estuary option before commenting.

“If the option is taken off the table we will write privately to the mayor, giving him the respect he deserves.

“Building a second runway at Gatwick will deliver two world class airports and competition, which will lead to lower air fares and greater choice for passengers and business. It will also help make Heathrow better; their expensive charges would come down and they would be better incentivised to alleviate ‘Heathrow Hassle’, which has blighted British travellers for years.

“Building a third runway at Heathrow will, in our view, diminish the choice available to ordinary British passengers, making it more expensive to go on holiday, to travel for business and to export goods and services.

“We support competition, reduced fares and two world-class airports serving the UK as a whole. As the mayor himself said: “Why on earth entrench a huge planning error and expand Heathrow and consign future generations to misery…?””

Sourced from Travel Weekly


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