Mayor’s plea to Cameron over airport

BORIS Johnson has risked a fresh row with David Cameron by warning that Britain will become a “bit part player” in the global economy unless a new hub airport is built in the south-east.

The Mayor of London said Britain risks becoming an “aviation backwater” and losing out in the battle for emerging markets contracts because the capital’s airports will be at capacity within 20 years.

“Without those (extra) runways we will lose business to our European competitors and we risk relegation from economic powerhouse to merely a bit part player in the global economy.”

Johnson has long opposed the coalition’s pledge not to expand airport capacity in the south-east and wants to see a floating “multiple runway” airport built in the Thames Estuary, dubbed Boris Island.

He spoke out as Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, which owns British Airways, claimed that new transport secretary Justine Greening faces a “conflict of interest” because her Putney constituency is under the Heathrow flight path.

Last week Walsh also said he opposed a “Heathwick” rail link between Heathrow and Gatwick.