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Boris Johnson throws weight behind new Thames Estuary airport

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London Mayor Boris Johnson has today urged the government to ‘grasp the nettle’, claiming an all-new airport hub in the Thames Estuary was essential to ‘ward off economic paralysis

The 100 page report outlines the economic argument for greater aviation capacity for both London and the UK, and concludes that developing a hub airport outside the south east would be unworkable.

However, despite rumours that Foster + Partners’ self-funded vision for a Super Hub airport on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary has already won key Treasury support, Johnson stopped short of endorsing any one particular site or scheme.

Without a new airport the UK would lose its place at the top of the global economy

According to Johnson’s report the UK’s only ‘hub airport’ - Heathrow - is running at 98 per cent of its capacity and is unable to provide further services to new rising growth markets in the Middle East, China and South America.  European airports providing these services are shifting business away from the UK.  

The research adds: ‘Heathrow currently offers just 9,000 seats per week to mainland China and it only serves two routes. By contrast Frankfurt offers almost twice the number of seats and serves four destinations, while Amsterdam already offers flights to six Chinese destinations. London remains without any direction connection to 12 cities in mainland China that are expected to be among the 25 global mega cities with the highest GDP in the world by 2025.’

Johnson, said: ‘The global economic geography is shifting and distant cities are rocketing up the league tables of global trade. The old order is passing however our airports are unable to serve the young bucks that are set to drive the world forward.’

‘In the next 15 years 75 million Chinese households will enter the middle classes. It is a phenomenal market and we need our engineers to be able to hop on a plane and build their infrastructure. We need their business leaders to fly in and consult with our contract lawyers. However their business is already being snaffled up by our friends on the continent who chortle at our continued inertia.’

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