The Mayor plans to visit Dubai, Qatar and Kuwait in mid-April to raise up to £80 billion for a new 180 million- passenger-a-year super-hub. City Hall’s preferred option remains a new four-runway airport in the Thames Estuary, but senior aides view expansion of Stansted as a more realistic option.
Mr Johnson insists a new hub airport, wherever it is, could be delivered with private finance and operated as a viable commercial business. His £80 million estimate covers the cost of terminals, runways, ancillary facilities and rail and road access. He was inspired by Hyderabad’s “aerotropolis” — 30 per cent funded by money from Gulf states — on a recent trade mission to India.
Today the Mayor will give evidence to the Commons transport committee. He is expected to be asked why a new hub airport is so important and why further expansion of Heathrow is impossible.
Mr Johnson also announced a team of experts — including British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, designer of the Olympic aquatics centre — to draw up plans for a hub to the east of London. Other advisers include Pascall+Watson, which designed Heathrow Terminal 5 and the redevelopment of St Pancras station.
Engineering firm Atkins, which worked on the Olympics, the Bahrain World Trade Centre and the Dubai metro, will look at surface access and environmental impacts.
The Mayor accused ministers of kicking the issue of airport capacity into the long grass, and ordered his own £3 million study, after the Government said a review on aviation would not be concluded until after the next general election. City Hall has already set out some 15 proposals for a hub airport, and a shortlist will be announced this month, which the experts will examine.
Mr Johnson said: “It is imperative that work to progress a new hub airport is completed as soon as possible. The Government has set a timetable that dawdles when dash should be the order of the day. I have assembled experts tasked with delivering an examination of the most realistic solutions.”
A senior aide to the Mayor added: “Any discussions we have in the Gulf at this stage are obviously very conceptual because until we have an agreed location and design [for the airport] it is impossible for investors to have a firm view. There will be discussions about raising funds for housing, regeneration and transport more widely.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson appoints “airport experts”
London’s mayor has announced he has appointed “a mighty team of experts” (sic) to help develop his hub airport plans.
Boris Johnson opposes a third runway at Heathrow and supports the idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary or the expansion at Stansted.
He said: “The government has set a timetable that dawdles when dash should be the order of the day.”
The Whitehall-appointed Davies Commission on aviation is not due to make its final report until 2015.
The Department for Transport is yet to respond to Mr Johnson’s latest comments.
Mr Johnson said: “It is absolutely imperative that work to progress a new hub airport in the South East is completed as soon as possible.
“That is why I have assembled a mighty team of experts who I have tasked with delivering a fulsome examination of the most realistic solutions to our aviation crisis in the shortest time possible, which I look forward to sharing with the government.”
The mayor’s airport team will include design, engineering and project management consultants Atkins.
Architects Pascall & Watson, whose previous projects include Heathrow Terminal 5, Dublin Airport Terminal 2 and St Pancras International rail station, will also take part.
About 15 different proposals for a new hub airport in south east England have already been made public.
Mr Johnson has consulted on criteria that will be used to evaluate each proposal and to form a shortlist.
That shortlist is expected to be announced within weeks and the team now assembled by the mayor will combine their expertise to produce detailed feasibility studies that he will submit to the Davies Commission.
Speaking to the Transport Select Committee, the mayor said: “Personally I think that agenda could be accelerated and and it would be possible by early next year to come to a pretty clear view about what the right way forward is but we’re content to be as useful as we can for the time being.
“I think the parties could get together and agree a way forward and we intend to be as useful as we can in helping that to happen.”
Ed Mitchell, the Environment Agency’s environment and business director, told the committee that [talking about a Thames estuary airport] habitat protection requirements would be “quite a stiff challenge” and there could be flood risks.
He said his gut instinct was that it was “possible although not easy and not cheap” that solutions to problems posed by an estuary airport could be found.
London Assembly Green Party member Jenny Jones said: “Instead of squandering taxpayers’ money on developing fantasy airports that will inevitably lead to massive carbon emissions, he should be prioritising climate mitigation and adaptation projects.”
Zaha Hadid appointed to Boris’s airports review
7 February 2013
By Elizabeth Hopkirk (Building Design.com)
Pascall & Watson and Atkins will also advise Mayor of London
Zaha Hadid Architects has been appointed to advise Boris Johnson on the options for expanding London’s airport capacity.
The practice will work with Atkins and transport specialist Pascall & Watson to assess the recommendations due to be made by his aviation panel.
There are currently around 15 alternatives, including proposals by Foster & Partners, Farrells and Gensler.
Frustrated by the pace of government decision-making, Boris appointed his own aviation panel including UCL’s Peter Hall to establish the criteria on which a decision should be made.
A consultation on these criteria ends tomorrow.
Zaha Hadid, Atkins and Pascall & Watson will work with the mayor to apply the criteria to a shortlist of options.
They are expected to pick one or two favoured options which will then be submitted to the government-appointed Davies Commission whose interim report is due out at the end of the year.
The Mayor of London is open about his support for a brand new airport in the Thames Estuary but has promised to listen to alternative ideas, including expanding Heathrow.
A quote from Boris’s website has him saying (27.1.2013):
Big spending on infrastructure is key to this plan, with a second Crossrail across the capital, longer tube lines and more river crossings. There must be a swift solution to the capacity crunch above Britain’s skies and a new hub airport. He considers expanding Stansted just as viable as building a new airport in the Thames estuary, aided by a sovereign wealth fund from China or another developing world economy.
“You just have to chuck a snowball into a cocktail party at Davos and you’d hit someone with a sovereign wealth fund who would fund a piece of infrastructure like that,” he says.
Boris now wants not only a Thames estuary airport but a massive aerotropolis = airport city
28.11.2012 Boris Johnson – during his trip to India to promote London – set out his vision to build an “aerotropolis” around a new terminal for his fantasy project of a Thames Estuary airport. He said a town of about 20,000 people could spring up to the east of London based around a 4-runway hub airport (it was 5 runways last week…). It would have four or five “anchor” developments such as a hospital, university campus, a major business or exhibition centre to create thousands of jobs. A social infrastructure including homes, schools, shops, parks and a transport network would be a key part of the plan. Any such scheme would have truly dreadful environmental and biodiversity impacts. The Mayor said London had “much to learn” from India on the future of airports. He added that he was “inspired” by his visit to Hyderabad’s two runway airport — a leading example of an “aerotropolis” that is set to double in size over the next five years (that is because India is only starting to develop its aviation, while we did so decades ago, and it has a massively larger population).http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1383and
Boris island’ is an unfundable white elephant, says boss of Dubai airport
October 13, 2012
Paul Griffiths, the British boss of Dubai airport, one of the world’s fastest growing airports in the world, says Boris’s proposal for an £80 billion, 4-runway hub in the Thames Estuary is “unfundable” and a potential white elephant. (He wants a Heathrow 3rd runway instead, of course). Of the Thames airport plan, he said it requires all the expense of investing in the project without the productivity arising from it, and at the same time you are forcing other airports in the London system to stop growing. Fundamentally, he said, the location of the estuary is wrong, and though transport links to it would be hugely expensive, the airport would not be used. “Many cities have built large airports out of town and as a result have constructed white elephants because they are not successful. Montreal is a very good example.”He will say more at an AOA conference on October 22-23. Click here to view full story…
GLA press release
These were Boris’s criteria for a new airport:
…. key tests that a mega hub airport must pass
7 FEBRUARY 2013
Only twenty-four hours remain for Londoners to comment on draft criteria that the Mayor believes would provide the fairest possible evaluation of the increasing number of plans proposed to solve the desperate need for more aviation capacity in the southeast. Londoners and members of the aviation, business and political communities are being asked what they think about the new criteria.
Around 15 different proposals have already been made public and the Mayor has made it very clear that he wishes to see the speediest possible resolution to the debate on where to build a multi runway hub airport, so that the British economy is given the best chance to prosper in the face of huge competition from its global rivals. His draft criteria have been designed to reduce the plans already suggested to a more manageable number by applying rigorous tests of their viability.
The draft criteria are as follows:
Economic: The primary driver for an increase in aviation capacity is its economic impacts; it is essential that any proposals taken forward support regional and national economic objectives and maximise the economic and social benefits for the UK.
Airport infrastructure: Any new airport facilities should meet the needs of airlines, passengers and freight by enabling an efficient, effective, safe airport operation that is competitive with the best airports in the world.
Airspace: Aviation safety remains paramount. Any increase in aviation capacity must address conflicts with existing airports and comply with current and future airspace regulations, including the continuing ‘Single European Sky’ initiative.
Surface access: These criteria are designed to ensure that an airport has the required access provision: drawing on the widest pool of passengers, staff and freight will be essential to any airport’s success. Sufficient new road and rail capacity is integral to any airport option, and a high public transport access mode share will be key to ensuring sustainable airports. New-build airports such as Hong Kong have achieved a public transport access mode share in excess of 70%.
Environmental: The impacts of aviation on local communities and the natural environment must be minimised if any expansion of aviation is to be sustainable.
Deliverability: Any new aviation capacity must be capable of being delivered. This must take into account likely planning and construction issues and the need to secure funding.
A consultation on the criteria has run since the beginning of January and will close this Friday February 8. Once agreed they will be used to form a shortlist of options from the range of proposals already made public. Options on the final shortlist will then be the subject of detailed feasibility studies that the Mayor of London will submit to the Davies Commission.