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Hub city: Grimshaw moots London airport growth solution

Grimshaw has revealed plans to increase airport capacity in the capital by routing transfers through the capital

The company is the latest practice to enter debate over how to resolve demands for airport growth in the region.

Make and Weston Williamson have already proposed transforming Stansted and Luton respectively into four-runway mega-hubs while Norman Fosters backs building a fresh facility in the Thames Estuary.

Grimshaw’s vision would see new ‘super express’ rail links connecting Luton, Stansted and Gatwick to the capital. The concept aims to make London more accessible to travelers transferring between these airports.

More than 30 per cent of Heathrow’s international passengers venture into the capital where, on average, they spend £500 per head.

By investing in infrastructure and improving access to the capital the number of passengers using London as their ‘transfer lounge’ could increase, boosting its economy. This would decrease pressure on Heathrow and allow overall capacity to grow the practice argued.

Studio chief executive Jolyon Brewis said London could become the world’s first hub city.

He said: ‘The need to expand our aviation capacity gives us a unique opportunity to create an integrated transport strategy that directly supports the commercial and cultural vitality of London.

‘This is of critical importance to the UK economy. I am convinced that the way to achieve this is to make London more accessible to more people than ever before.’

A Grimshaw spokesperson estimated the project could cost up to a third less than the Thames Estuary airport proposal.

A report by the House of Commons Transport Select Committee recently concluded a Thames Estuary hub airport could cost up to £70 billion and would not be commercially viable.

Farrell’s previously proposed creating a rail hub in west London connecting existing airports allowing international air passengers to transfer within 30 minutes.

Details about where Grimshaw’s ‘super express’ trains would terminate and how they would connect within London were undecided.

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