24 JUNE 2013
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With all the high profile fuss being made it is amazing to think that any recommendation (let alone decision) regarding the future of major airports in the United Kingdom will not be made until at the earliest summer 2015.
‘Davies’ The Airport Commission closes for submissions on Friday 19 July, with all manner of interested parties making their recommendations, many with great gusto and noise. To make things even more complicated a report by the New Economics Foundation says HS2 is an unjustified gamble at £33bn and that money would be better spend on a “wider range of transport investments”. This has been dismissed by the Prime Minister who sticks to his guns right or wrong, typified by the third runway cancellation, which could of course be reversed by the Commission. With no Crossrail station planned at London City Airport one must question the skill of the railway planners who make up some of the 18 non-aviation ‘experts’ on ‘Davies’.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, thought to be an aspirant Prime Minister, and the number one promoter of a new “world class” airport in the Thames Estuary has used his journalistic skills for a major piece in the London Evening Standard newspaper promoting his 2020 Vision for London.
But Boris is crafty in that he quotes Transport for London in saying that they can provide surface links to the new airport, and “my officials” regarding the half a million jobs they say the Aerotropolis would create. Boris could still jump ship, he was once MP for Henley reliant on Heathrow for work, and enter Parliament for a Heathrow-dependent constituency. What happens then? At present he seems to have cooled on a Stansted development, which had caught his eye some months back.
Reading through the London Evening Standard piece, it is full of the usual misleading comments. Yes, Amsterdam does have room for a seventh runway, but relative to Heathrow nobody wants to use the airport, and two landing strips would suffice for many years to come. The same is true of Frankfurt with its four runways.
Mr Johnson has not mentioned that with a runway to the east of London planes will still come over the centre of the capital in much the same way they do now. The wind still blows in the main from west to east, and even Mr Johnson, as with King Canute in earlier times, cannot change nature. He also fails to acknowledge the great strides made by the engine makers in recent times. This has been dramatic with huge improvements planned. The reduced noise footprint for London City Airport 30 years ago was remarkable and helped to establish that successful operation (which would disappear if Boris has his way).
Fast forward another 30 years and the planes will be even quieter.
Boris cannot be serious. He needs to look at a new strategy if he has job aspirations for 2016 when his current appointment ends.
WITH REPECT TO WIMBLEDON WHICH STARTS TODAY
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