Farrell: Airport constellation only ‘realistic’ solution for London
Terry Farrell has again hit out at plans for a new London hub airport, insisting that a better joined-up network of existing airports was the only solution which took into account ‘realities on the ground’
Branding proposals for a mega-airport east of the capital a ‘vanity project’, transport guru Farrell said that the constellation approach suited big cities while only smaller cities could support hub airports.
Speaking at a debate organised by property networking club Movers and Shakers, the principal of Farrells said: ‘When you have a small city like Amsterdam or Frankfurt, it’s easy to have a megahub because [due to business demands], people don’t go to Amsterdam or Frankfurt to stay, they go there just for the airport.’
He added: ‘But people [stay] in London and Tokyo and larger cities. These cities tend to have constellations. You tend to have airports around them just because of the sheer size, as any one place is not going to suit the size and complexity of the cities themselves.’
However fellow speaker Ian Mulcahey, managing director of Gensler which has mooted a floating Thames Estuary airport (see below), disagreed. He said: ’Fifteen cities have closed airports located in the centre and have moved their airports further out. They have done that to relieve congestion, noise and air pollution from the city, but they have also found the land on which the old airport sat is hugely valuable.’
He added: ‘We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to put a [hub] in the Thames Estuary where we can build the best airport in the world.’
But Farrell hit back, dismissing arguments that London needed the ‘vanity project’ of a single hub airport and said: ‘Looking at super airports in China and elsewhere is not the right way to go about it. It encourages you to fall in love with the object but not to recognise the importance of the system as a whole.’