Mayor of London wants to close Heathrow
Boris Johnson, the mayor of London is proposing a plan to close Heathrow and replace it with a 24 hour airport int he Thames Estuary.
The airport would have to be built on an artificial island off Sheppey in Kent, and would start with four runways, but would have room for two more if the need arose.
Passengers would be transported to and from central London on high-speed trains in about 35 minutes. Luggage could be checked in at the railway station.
The airport would be connected to the Channel tunnel rail link, opening up fast passenger and freight routes to northern Europe. Brussels, for example, would be about 90 minutes away by train.
Johnson’s aides believe the scheme, loosely modelled on Hong Kong international airport, could take just six years to build, eventually leading to a phased closure of Heathrow and possibly even Gatwick.
The Heathrow site, which employs 70,000 workers, could ultimately be turned into Britain’s equivalent of Silicon Valley, with technology parks and affordable homes.
“If we can build St Paul’s, the Gherkin, the Channel tunnel and all the rest of it, we can do this,” said Kit Malthouse, one of Johnson’s deputies, who is overseeing the airport project. “We just need a bit of courage.”
Johnson believes the new airport would solve congestion at Heathrow, which serves 67m passengers a year, and create new jobs east of the capital.
Naturally there might be some issues with this proposal, and while it will most likely be welcomed by the residents who live near Heathrow, British Airways will not want to close their main airport, which is their major world hub.