Plans to fund a new hub in the Thames Estuary have now been cancelled. The new airport, proposed by architect Lord Foster, was going to use funding partially from landing charges at Heathrow to fund the project, estimated at £8 billion.
Airlines were against the idea. Chief executive of International Airlines Group, parent of British Airways, Willie Walsh said, "The idea that airlines currently operating at Heathrow would fund the development of an airport that they are not going to use, to the tune of £8bn, is crazy . . . And we will fight it. British Airways pay over 50% of landing charges at Heathrow.
Thames Estuary Airport Funding
He continues, "If Foster has this plan, let him put this plan together without relying on the funding that is provided at Heathrow. Because the airlines operating at Heathrow have not committed to go to this new airport and won't commit to going to this new airport. That is the bottom line."
The proposal for the estuary was set to cost a total of £23 billion. £11 billion was to be secured through imposed landing charges in the new airport within the next decade, around 2028. Another £10 billion was to be obtained by closing and redeveloping Heathrow.
The new airport, that was to be situated on the Isle of Grain in the Thames estuary, was to be a four-runway hub. Prime Minister David Cameron was keen to implement the idea as a replacement to Heathrow, as the central airport is running to near full capacity. However, he has now settled to the proposition of a third runway.
Cancelled Airport Funds
During the elections, both coalition parties said they would not build a third runway at Heathrow; however, there will be an aviation review at the end of 2012. Cameron said: "I do understand it is vitally important that we maintain the sort of hub status that Britain has. There are lots of different options that can be looked at."
Chief executive of BAA, Colin Matthews said that a noise compensation scheme would need to be put in place if the green light were to given to a third runway.
"The big constraint on Heathrow is noise . . . People will debate the relative merits of providing people with double glazing versus providing people with financial compensation. All of that is perfectly legitimate in the debate around the government's policy papers."
Image copyright Foster + Partners