Thames Airport

Foster + Partners will submit a proposal to the UK Airports Commission to build a new £50bn hub airport in the Thames Estuary in July 2013.

The UK Airports Commission is led by Sir Howard Davies and has been exploring ways to boost airport capacity in the country.

The airport project is being considered as part of the of the proposed UK Thames Hub, which will incorporate an integrated infrastructure solution with the aim to rebalance the economy, fuel growth and maintain global hub status.

Foster’s plans include a four-runway airport on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary, which will have the capacity to handle 150 million passengers per year, as well as scope to expand to a six-runway airport.

Foster + Partners founder and chairman Lord Foster said that the task of Airports Commission is important and demonstrates the government’s commitment to tackling the aviation issue.

"Decisive action must be taken in planning for future capacity if Britain is to remain competitive," Foster said.

"We believe that a new four-runway Thames Estuary airport can best provide the connectivity and future flexibility that Britain desperately needs, while improving the lives of the millions of Londoners blighted by Heathrow’s flight path."

"The UK Airports Commission is led by Sir Howard Davies and has been exploring ways to boost airport capacity in the country."

The new airport project is also expected to reduce environmental, noise and security issues of aircraft over-flying London into Heathrow.

The airport will be connected to London via a spur linking directly to the existing high-speed rail line, establishing a fast route from the airport to the Midlands and North through HS2, as well as continental Europe.

The airport hub will also feature a railway terminus, freight depot and port, together with a new Thames Barrier and a new four-track high-speed passenger and freight railway.

The proposal for Thames Hub was revealed in 2011 and the ongoing study included addressing issues related to airport design and airspace, assessment of geotechnical issues, costs and potential funding models in addition to construction, planning and delivery.

The study also addressed issues related to surface access, ports and shipping, hydropower generation, in addition to the analysis of economic, environmental, social and safety impacts.

Image: Foster’s plans include a four-runway airport, which will have a capacity of handling 150 million passengers per year, with future expansion capacity to six runways. Photo: courtesy of Foster and Partners.