THE DECISION to keep the Thames Estuary hub in the running was the type of move by the Airports Commission that was once derided by Boris Johnson as “fudge-o-rama”.
The independent panel said it had failed to make up its mind on whether to shortlist the proposal, more commonly known as Boris Island, and has pledged to look at more data before ruling it in or out.
The plan for a four-runway airport has a price tag of between £82bn and £112bn, according to yesterday’s report, and unlike the existing airports, does not have an obvious backer to shoulder some of the financial burden.
The Mayor, who has been a vocal supporter of the idea of a new hub away from Heathrow, has said the plan would cost under £50bn and could be “relatively easily financed by international investment”.
For the Estuary airport off the Kent coast to be commercially viable, it would require the closure of Heathrow, and in order to create enough airspace to the east of London, City Airport would also be forced to shut.
Johnson, who wants to see a new garden city built at the Heathrow site, said the Estuary is “not dead yet”. “A new airport in the inner estuary is the only credible hub option left,” he said in a statement.