View Full Version : New Airport could operate 24 hours

7th Oct 2001, 11:22
From todays Sunday Times

[QUOTE] New airport in Thames could fly at all hours
Jonathon Carr-Brown

An out-of-town site would escape EU hours restrictions

A NEW airport in the southeast of England that would operate 24 hours a day is being proposed by local councils to solve London's air traffic congestion.

The international airport would be built in the Thames estuary area identified by the government for development, and initially have two runways with space to expand to four. Supporters say the plan could get round last week's European Court of Human Rights ruling that people living near airports have a right to a good night's sleep, by being built away from large population areas.

Although no specific site is identified in the report by the strategic aviation special interest group (Sasig) of the Local Government Association, an airport island in the middle of the Thames estuary has not been ruled out. More likely locations are Dartford or Manston, both in Kent. Manston already has a small airport. In the past, planners have also considered Maplin on the Essex coast, although this option is now considered unviable because of the time it would take to get into central London.

This week, Sasig will publish its proposal in a pamphlet, Does Aviation Matter? to support its submission to the Future of Aviation white paper being put together by the government. Most submissions so far have called for new runways at existing airports. The most ambitious, from BMI, the airline, called for two new runways at Heathrow and one more at Stansted and Gatwick.

The councils' alternative is thought to be the first to call for a new airport and has surprised Whitehall because it has the backing of local government politicians.

Before September 11, the government was predicting that demand for air travel would grow rapidly. Forecasts suggested average growth of 4.3% a year to 2020. Passenger numbers were forecast to rise from 160m in 1998 to 333m in 2015 and 401m in 2020.

Experts still expect these figures to be met, but are sceptical that a new international airport in the southeast of England is the answer. Sources close to the BAA, which would be asked to build any new airport, said that, even if it were placed on a greenfield site, there would be problems over where to house workers and how to get travellers into London.

Richard Worral, the Sasig chairman, said: "This country now needs to consider carefully the possible scale of growth over the next 30 years and agree on the right visionary solution. We need to get a major shift towards regional airports, particularly in those areas which will benefit from the economic stimulus.

"As far as the southeast is concerned, a new airport operating peacefully for 24 hours a day will be the most sustainable option. It will allow us to rival the French and the Dutch again. It will stop us compounding the problems of developing airports in the wrong place. I believe a site that could meet sensible planning criteria could be found."

Paul de Zilva, an aviation expert for Friends of the Earth, said: "We don't think pushing the problem somewhere else necessarily solves the problem. What we should be doing is making the industry more efficient by getting more short-haul air traffic on to trains."

The government intends to publish the key points of its Future of Aviation consultation process in about two weeks' time. Stephen Byers, the transport secretary, will publish a white paper early next year.

The Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions said: "The point of these reviews is that we rule nothing in or out. We will consider all the options including new airports."


Then they could sell LHR to build houses!! :)

Fool's Hole
7th Oct 2001, 11:37

Sorry but what congestion???? The skies are empty. Not much air traffic to talk about.

The Guvnor
7th Oct 2001, 11:43
Having lived out near MSE )in Margate) I'd say that a new airport there would be a Rather Bad Idea. By rail at the moment, it takes some 1h45min at best to get to Victoria; and road - even with the M2 links - isn't greatly faster. Coming from the west of London, you're looking at serious travel time.

In my opinion, the best potential third (or fourth or fifth or whatever) London airport would have been at Greenham Common. Thanks to the Yanks, it had most of the infrastructure already in place, including runways that could have accommodated any aircraft at MTOW. In addition, it was perfectly sited to cover the whole of southern England.

Unfortunately, the NIMBYs on the local council decided to plough the place up... :mad: :mad: :mad:

7th Oct 2001, 12:25
Greenham Common? get real!, no sensible transport to cover the south east market, having to drive past LHR to get there, and a further 30 miles at that! By the time Greenham Common was being talked about, T5 was well on the way. Why drive past LHR to get to Greenham? With LHR operating normally how would you propose the integration of Air Traffic would work? Think you might get a few slot delays as an absolute minimum!. In your virtual world it might work, but not in the real one. As for a marine airport why bother? theres less environmental impact in upgrading STN to meet the forseen requirement.

7th Oct 2001, 14:33
This is old hat; these proposals have only been dusted off in light of the recent Human rights case, and are destined to go back in the bin again.

7th Oct 2001, 19:08
New Airports take ages to build, even in HKG & Osaka ... but all the current plithora of Airports in the south of England are either outdated, non-expandable and/or a bloody challenge to all concerned.

What are the requirements of the next generation of airports - 24h? - high speed access - and whatever needs adding.

But what about a little bit of vision. High speed people movers (trains) that are fairly fast and safe already exist - if in doubt, ask the French.

So the distance from an airport to its served city or cities is now in another league.

If the 15 countries are really part of Europe (which I personally suspect is not entirely true) then why couldn't say F, B, NL & UK build an Airport Island in the North Sea/Channel with high speed rail access to AMS, Rotterdam, Antwerp, BRU, PAR & LON. Use the island to split the upward and downward ship traffic that is becoming a traffic snafu. Build it like LHR with parallel runways at 120 but make that 2 parallel on each side of the middle with room for a 3rd set if ever needed.

What a logical way to pre-invest and kick start more than 1 industry. The French want a new something LHR needs replacing, etc. It will take at least 5 and more probably 10 years to build - so hows about some studies.

Oh yes if I'm being too ambitious - just do it between F & UK or UK & B. But be visionary and bold.

If at 1st you don't succeed, ... cheat ?

[ 07 October 2001: Message edited by: gofer ]