London mayor highlights economic potential of estuary airport

Opening a new four-runway airport in the Thames Estuary could help to boost the UK’s GDP by £92 billion over the next 35 years, according to London’s mayor.     

As well as a direct financial benefit, Boris Johnson believes that giving the controversial plans the green light could support 336,000 jobs between now and 2050, standard.co.uk reports. 

The claims come as part of a last-minute bid to keep plans for the “superhub” airport alive, despite ongoing competition from other airports in the capital. 

The Airports Commission panel is expected to finalise its shortlist for potential changes in the coming weeks. The group’s chairman, Sir Howard Davies, has already added Gatwick and Heathrow’s separate plans to build extra runways to the list, and Mr Johnson is hoping his proposals will also make the cut. 

He was quoted by theguardian.com as saying: “A new hub airport, properly planned, has the potential to reshape the economic geography of London and the whole of the South-East for decades to come. 

“It would be a project of a scale we are no longer accustomed to in this country, though it has become commonplace elsewhere. We simply cannot afford to miss out on the opportunities a new airport would give us.”

A number of obstacles have already been highlighted by the Commission, including the need to move wildlife habitats and adjusting flight paths. It is also thought that the development could cost more than £100 billion.