‘Boris Island’ fails for being ‘too risky and expensive’

'Boris Island' fails for being 'too risky and expensive'A proposal for a Thames estuary hub airport has “substantial disadvantages” that collectively outweigh its potential benefits, the Airports Commission ruled today.

The scheme put forward by London Mayor Boris Johnson has not made the shortlist of options for providing new airport capacity by 2030 following a detailed further study into its feasibility.

Sir Howard told the BBC the estuary airport scheme was “too risky” and too expensive, with estimated costs of between £30-£60 billion of public money.

“We do not think it is a sensible option to pursue,” he said.

“The Mayor was looking for a solution. I don’t think it’s completely idiotic. Unfortunately our conclusion is that we can’t take it forward.”

He added: “The national interest suggests we need to find additional capacity somewhere.”

In a separate statement Davies said: “We are not persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames estuary is the right answer to London’s and the UK’s connectivity needs.

“While we recognise the need for a hub airport, we believe this should be a part of an effective system of competing airports to meet the needs of a widely spread and diverse market like London’s.”

He added: “There are serious doubts about the delivery and operation of a very large hub airport in the estuary.

“The economic disruption would be huge and there are environmental hurdles which it may prove impossible, or very time-consuming to surmount.

“Even the least ambitious version of the scheme would cost £70 to £90 billion with much greater public expenditure involved than in other options – probably some £30 to £60 billion in total.”

Davies said: “There will be those who argue that the commission lacks ambition and imagination. We are ambitious for the right solution.

“The need for additional capacity is urgent. We need to focus on solutions which are deliverable, affordable, and set the right balance for the future of aviation in the UK.”

The commission will now continue its appraisal of the three shortlisted proposals for additional capacity. It will publish the appraisal for public consultation in the autumn.

Back Heathrow campaign co-ordinator Rob Gray said: “This decision is a major victory for the thousands of local residents in west London who had begun to fear the worst.

“However, despite the emphatic rejection of Boris Johnson’s plans, the UK still has a problem because Heathrow is bursting at the seams.

“The UK’s only hub airport might have dodged a bullet from the Mayor of London but a slow death awaits if it is not allowed to expand.

“The Airports Commission has said ‘No’ to Boris Johnson but for the sake of local jobs and UK prosperity, it now needs to say ‘Yes’ to growth at Heathrow.”

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “This is an important juncture in the aviation debate because now Britain’s choice is clear; expand Gatwick and support genuine competition, lower fares and greater choice for passengers or expand Heathrow and return to the stale monopoly of the past and watch the cost of going on holiday, travelling for business and exporting goods and service go up.

“We believe Gatwick has the strongest case. It is the only option left on the table that can be delivered with more certainty than either of the Heathrow options, and it can be delivered without the significant environmental impacts expansion at Heathrow would inflict on London. It can be delivered faster than any other option, and at low cost and low risk.

“Furthermore, expanding Gatwick will ensure the UK is served by two successful world class airports.

“It can liberate hub capacity at Heathrow and open up the opportunities for affordable long haul travel to emerging markets for the benefit of everyone, made possible by new generation of aircraft such as the Dreamliner.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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