Boris insists an estuary airport has the X Factor

Marion Dakers
THE MAYOR of London’s aviation adviser yesterday criticised the airports commission for making decisions like a judging panel on the X Factor.

Daniel Moylan also complained Sir Howard Davies and his team were keeping City Hall out of the loop on an issue that could change the face of London.

“They have treated the mayor with professional courtesy but at arm’s length,” he said in a speech at the Runways UK conference. “They have continued to deal with his office as if it’s on a par with companies with commercial interests. This is absurd.

“The decision-making process has had, if I may say so, a touch of Simon Cowell about it, with conclusions in some cases startlingly adrift from the numerical and other evidence in the report.”

Boris Johnson, who has championed a new airport in the Thames Estuary, told City A.M.: “It’s very important that all the proposals are treated in the same way.”

Davies told the conference that an estuary hub has “significant challenges and risks”, not least the “rather daunting” estimated price tag of between £82bn and £112bn. “You can get two HS2s for that. And of course the economic implications are quite serious as well. Will businesses choose to relocate to the estuary or will they move to another country?”

But the commission failed to agree whether to reject an estuary airport in time for last month’s interim report, meaning they will spend months further examining the idea before ruling it in or out in autumn.

The panel have already shortlisted Gatwick and Heathrow as contenders for a new runway, and hope their final decision in 2015 is backed by the next government.