London Mayor pitches for new airport hub at Thames Estuary

27 August 2014 (Last Updated August 27th, 2014 18:30)

London Mayor Boris Johnson has said that a new airport in the Thames Estuary will help to support 336,000 jobs around the UK by 2050, after citing figures from a city hall report.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has said that a new airport in the Thames Estuary will help to support 336,000 jobs around the UK by 2050, after citing figures from a city hall report.

The figures were revealed at the same time as a Chamber of Commerce survey, which found enough support from the Kent business community to build an airport hub in Thames Estuary.

The report is a first attempt at a like-for-like comparison of each of the options being considered by the Airports Commission.

The figures detail the number of jobs that will be supported by the operation of each airport and its supply chains. Thames Estuary hub would create a third more jobs than expansion at Heathrow Airport, as well as more than five times as many jobs as an expansion at Gatwick Airport.

"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."

The report was aimed at explaining how it would be the only option that will fully address the country’s economic and social challenges.

Johnson pointed out that the report does not include additional jobs that would result from the development of new business activity in East London and along transport corridors in Kent and Essex.

Johnson said: "There is no better example of the stark choice between planning for the future and depressing short-termism.

"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."

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce director Richard Lavender said: "We have surveyed our members and they have given strong backing to the proposal to build a new four runway airport in the Thames Estuary. Our members have endorsed it as the best way of providing the hub capacity the UK desperately needs.

"It will provide fantastic global links for businesses in Kent and it is the only long-term strategic solution to the airport capacity shortage. The local economy will be transformed, bringing thousands of new jobs to an area that has suffered from decline and low investment."

The airports commission is expected to make an announcement on adding the new airport option at Thames to its formal shortlist shortly.

However, the commission has highlighted a number of obstacles that an estuary airport would need to overcome, such as the moving of wildlife habitats and altering flight routes.