Boris Johnson’s London Assemby colleague calls – again – “for Heathwick”, a 4 runway virtual airport
A 4 runway airport? That means a second runway at Gatwick too. Lady Victoria Borwick, a GLA member who has twice stood for the London mayoral elections, has again put forward her hopes for a “four runway virtual hub” – which means the discredited “Heathwick” scheme. That would involve a high speed rail link cut between Heathrow and Gatwick. Gatwick Airport Ltd itself has said A “virtual” hub makes no sense …. The airside to airside transfer times, and the difficulties with baggage, will make it deeply unattractive to travellers. Why transfer through such a hub when it can be done so much more easily at a number of airports in Europe?” The idea of Heathwick fails because if deep-bored, it would be vastly expensive for little benefit; if not deep-bored it would do huge environmental damage; it would not be straight, and thus it is doubtful if it could do the journey in 15 minutes as claimed; it would double immigration and customs; and it gives no recognition that there is no space for a second runway at Gatwick. Perhaps Lady Borwick has not done her research.
Gatwick airport itself is not keen on “Heathwick”
The “Heathwick” idea has even been rejected by Gatwick Airport Ltd. This is what they said about the idea in their response to the Scoping Document: A “virtual” hub makes no sense …. The airside to airside transfer times, and the difficulties with baggage, will make it deeply unattractive to travellers. Why transfer through such a hub when it can be done so much more easily at a number of airports in Europe?
GACC comment on “Heathwick”
The proposal for a high speed rail link between Heathrow and Gatwick has attracted much attention in the media. It had no author and was a total nonsense, and has been rubbished by many airlines –
- if deep-bored, it would be vastly expensive for little benefit
- if not deep-bored it would do huge environmental damage
- it would not be straight, and thus it is doubtful if it could do the journey in 15 minutes as claimed
- double immigration and customs
- no recognition that there is no space for a second runway at Gatwick
Growth strangled by airport capacity crisis: London Assembly member cries for expansion
7.3.2012 (Fresh Business Thinking)
By Ben Simmons
London Assembly member, Victoria Borwick, has added to calls for an expansion of aviation capacity in south east England.
Launching her report [there does not appear to be any report !] into what the Government should consider doing, Mrs Borwick said that:
“Growth is in danger of being strangled by the lack of airport capacity in south east England.
“Therefore I am proposing that we create a new four-runway virtual hub that would see an additional runway built at Gatwick and for it to be linked to Heathrow by an air-side high-speed rail link thus creating the world’s first virtual hub airport.”
Mrs Borwick’s idea would see Gatwick operate as a “feeder airport” from which people would travel in minutes via high-speed rail hugging the M25 to Heathrow for their long-haul connection.
Explaining, she said:
“We need to make much greater use of the smaller airports we have in the south east. There is no reason why short haul domestic and European flights, including freight, should not operate from these second tier airports. This would free slots to enable the virtual hub to operate where people could arrive at Gatwick to connect to their long-haul flight at Heathrow thus effectively giving London a four runway airport.
“I realise that this may seem radical to some people, but doing nothing is not an option. Heathrow is full to bursting and a Thames Estuary airport and all its necessary infrastructure will take decades to build.
“We don’t have decades. If we want to maintain our aviation lead we need to get on now.”
( this is just her press release verbatim, from Victoria Borwick’s website )
She said the same thing on 18th January 2012:
News from Victoria Borwick: “We’ve missed the boat on an Estuary airport” says Victoria Borwick
18 JANUARY 2012
London Assembly member, Victoria Borwick, has said this morning that the time for building a new airport in the Thames estuary has passed and that the Government should look at quicker alternatives to boost aviation capacity in south east England. Instead she is suggesting that Heathrow and Gatwick are linked by an air-side 15minute high-speed rail line; that a second runway be built at Gatwick and that greater, more efficient use is made of the smaller airports that surround London. Speaking as the Government announced a formal consultation into the idea of building a new multi-runway airport in the Thames Estuary, Mrs Borwick said: “The idea of a Thames Estuary airport is a great one – that’s why they started building one in the early 1970s, but Harold Wilson’s government scrapped it. Decades have now passed with no real long-term thought given to how we accommodate growth in demand for aviation. We need to expand our routes to the emerging economies of the Far East and Latin America. “Plans for an estuary airport at last recognise the need to expand capacity, but it would take decades to build – and we need that capacity now. “That is why I am proposing that Heathrow and Gatwick are turned into a virtual hub airport, linked by high-speed rail, that a second runway is built at Gatwick and that more efficient use is made of London’s “second tier” airports such as Southend and Manston. “I believe that this solution will provide the capacity we need, at a much lower cost and much more quickly than the Estuary idea and that it should be seriously examined as a solution to London air capacity crunch.” ENDS