Ryanair boss calls Boris Island 'hare-brained'

 
Runways at Heathrow Airport Plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport were scrapped in May

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The Mayor of London has again waded into the argument over aviation capacity, telling business leaders that building a new four-runway hub airport in the Thames Estuary is the only way for the UK to be able to compete on the world stage.

Boris Johnson, who was addressing members at the annual CBI Conference, again demanded that a third runway should be ruled out at Heathrow Airport.

He said it was time to be bold and said a new hub airport would help economic growth and create hundreds of jobs in the South East.

Of course he was playing to a largely sympathetic audience - leading business figures, many of whom have lobbied for aviation expansion.

Prime Minister David Cameron addressed the same delegates earlier in the day and spoke about the need for economic growth and new infrastructure projects but interestingly he did not mention aviation.

'Kicking the can'

The government recently set up the Davies Commission looking at this issue and it won't report back until after the next general election in 2015. But Mr Johnson did not steer clear and he said that a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary - dubbed Boris Island - was the only real solution.

His intervention came as MPs on the Transport Committee were taking evidence from key figures in the aviation industry including senior executives at Virgin and Easyjet as well as Michael O'Leary from Ryanair.

He accused the government of "kicking the can" down the road when it comes to making a decision on aviation. He also said building a Boris Island hub airport would be "stupid, hare-brained".

A lot of the arguments have been heard before but there is no doubt from the evidence they gave that business is deeply frustrated that the government still has not made a decision on aviation capacity.

I think there is a real sense of frustration among business figures that the decision has been as they see it kicked into the long grass. And that is felt even amongst Tory MPs.

The Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith has been tweeting today on the issue and asked: "Does anyone have any idea at all where the Govt stands on Airports?"

He also said: "So the same PM whose dithering on airports will cost 3-6 years, is now enraged by the delays affecting big infrastructure decisions?"

His comments won't endear him to the boss but perhaps reflect the frustration felt by the lack of clarity on this issue.

 
Louise Stewart Article written by Louise Stewart Louise Stewart Political editor, South East

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 25.

    Is there any data on passengers points of origin within the UK
    I'm sure quite a lot of people use the SE Airports who don't live in the SE.

    Whatever happened to the idea of a "Central England" Airport?
    Regional expansion plans?
    Adding commercial terminals on less sensitive/defunct RAF bases?

    Whilst I'm sure there are many good/bad reasons for the SE
    Are all options being explored

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 24.

    Those wanting to use London airport simply to transfer to another plane flying to non-UK destination should be encouragered to use Schipol, Paris, or Franfurt as their 'Hub Airport'.
    Capacity should only be provided for passengers bound for the the UK or starting out from the UK.
    The country does not need to lumber itself with gigantic airports simply to swell BAA profits with 'transfer traffic'

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 23.

    Shouldn't we be trying to reduce the number of flights, and developing less polluting transport infrastructure, rather than wasting billions on the 'any growth is good at any price' myth?

    It would make far more sense to invest in improved rail links to Europe and an improved and expanded UK and international high speed rail network.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 22.

    Interesting just after this story was posted a promo story for the Boris Island gang appeared. Heathrow makes business sense but extra flights will limit Tory constituency property prices in West London and Home Counties. It is laughable that this shambles has dragged on. Labour bit the bullet and committed to go ahead and then we had to have this lot..

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 21.

    If we need another runway in the south east why not use Manston? It would be more cost effective, apparentyl there is already a railway cutting linking it to the main line. Upgading the line along the north kent coast would give access to St Pancras in 40 mins (similar timing to central London from Heathrow, Luton, Stanstead and Gatwick. More importantly it would rejuvenate Thanet

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 20.

    I thought oil was running out and that this was going to make flying prohibitively expensive . Nobody wants an airport in their backyard
    and the cost of Boris Island is ridiculous for a country in our cash-strapped situation. Where do the figures come from that say that our economy will suffer and is suffering.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 19.

    If the Mayor of London wants a new airport, then he can build it in London.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 18.

    Recently-expanded Southend airport is part of the answer. It's already drawing flights from Stansted; it has rail facilities on the doorstep. With a faster train link to London, it would be quicker to London than Gatwick.
    It is naive of Boris to suggest that anyone has the money to build a whole new airport. The way forward is multiple bases as with New York - JFK, La Guardia & Newark.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 17.

    #15, I never said anything about heathrow expanding (which is a bad idea).

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 16.

    A new airport is ideal for the Thames estuary as Borris suggests. This area is derelict & decaying, just like the Olympic site was. A few odd balls objectors might shout about endangered mud, but the west of London is saturated, overdeveloped & over crowded. Logic & common sense are a rare in back to front Britain. Building an airport in the Thames estuary is logical.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 15.

    Re post #14: nope. People living under Heathrow's flightpaths do NOT want it expanding even more intrusively. They want it to Go Away (or words to that effect).

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 14.

    Boris Island wont work, Too many Locals would prefer their more local airports to be expanded first like Southend and Manston and get High speed raillinks between all the airports in the south east.

    Manston / Southend / Heathrow / Gatwick could all be linked with high speed trains quite easily.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 13.

    Relax folks - this isn't China. Unlike them we don't have the political "clarity" (interpret that how you will), the persistency or the engineering muscle to make it happen.

    No we'll just go on chewing the cud, just like the cows spread far round Schipol, which will take over as we quietly "fade away" peacefully.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 12.

    @7.VC10 - A good point. As I understand it, stacking for a Thames Estuary airpoprt would be out over the North Sea - good for noise reduction (by which I mean "impact of noise") but there would be conficts with Dutch air space holding patterns for Schipol and local airports plus potential impact on Stansted. Is this kind of information available anywhere?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 11.

    There's a very interesting proposal that I read about recently to re-site the Heathrow runways about a mile further west - over the top of the M25 in fact. That allows minimum impact on current operation during construction, very few homes adversely affected (not many to the west) and reduction in noise to those north, east and south of the airport.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 10.

    Hong Kong has just such an offshore airport- and very successful it is, too. By closing Heathrow, a large area of land would be freed for housing (notoriously short-supplied in the south of England) and existing houses-owners' lives would be immeasurably improved by the absence of aeroplane noise. What's not to like? Go for Boris Island!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 9.

    Batty Boris just wants his name on something. I guess bikes and buses just don't seem as enduring as a massive airport which destroys the estuary, murders millions of birds & wildlife, and opens potentially hundreds of deaths through birdstrike, fog, and unstable seas. Stick with your bikes, Boris (and Norman Foster!), and stay OUT of Kent and Essex.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 8.

    When will Boris get it he is mayor of LONDON. He does not represent Kent or have mandate to push Kent as as an airport Site. He should put up and shut up. This harebrained scheme should ruled out it is not I repeat not his call.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 7.

    As usual it's a discussion about where to put the airport site. No one seems to be able to grasp what impact the position of a new airport will have on air traffic management and airspace capacity. No good putting 10 more floors and new exits on a multi storey car park if you cant get the car out in to the street. Most observations about new airports are at best a vignette of ill informed opinion.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 6.

    Surely with Manston Airport, with its massive runway which is crying out for redevelopment is the answer.Joining the St pancras high speed link to it and hey presto London Manston

 

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