Sir Howard Davies promises to rise above Boris Johnson's "vulgar abuse" over London airport analysis

Sir Howard Davies plans to "rise above this vulgar abuse" from Boris Johnson as he works to pick a site for a new runway or airport.

"I completely dismiss what the mayor has said about our report. It’s completely at variance with anyone else … As far as the mayor's concerned we don’t seem to have produced the answer he wants us to produce. We will proceed with our analysis in the way we've been asked to do," Sir Howard told MPs at today’s transport select committee.

"I don’t think it's at all helpful that he uses this rather colourful language but I guess it's a matter of style. I don't think it illuminates the debate to do so. But we will not react, we will simply press on."

Sir Howard's panel last month shortlisted Heathrow and Gatwick for a new runway but said it needed to do more work on the concept of a new hub in the Thames Estuary before ruling it in or out by autumn.

Johnson, who has backed an estuary airport at the Isle of Grain, said over the weekend that the Davies commission's treatment of the estuary option had been "gloopy, tangled and quite labyrinthine".

And the mayor's aviation adviser last week said the panel's decision-making had "a touch of Simon Cowell about it".

Sir Howard today repeated his view that building a new estuary airport would be disruptive and expensive. He argued that the government would have to take over Heathrow and run it while the new hub is built, as the new airport would doom Heathrow commercially.

"It would be the biggest planning decision that London would make in a generation or more," he added.

Whichever option the commission recommends in 2015, Sir Howard said the next government should have a draft planning statement ready "within months" to address "a significant capacity problem in the mid-2020s".

The current government has asked Sir Howard to deliver his final recommendations after next year's general election, he added.

When asked whether he could see a new runway at Heathrow built in his lifetime, 62-year-old Sir Howard raised a laugh with the quip: "I’m feeling reasonably healthy at the moment."

Heathrow has said it could install a third runway by 2026, with an estimated price tag of up to £18bn. Gatwick could have a second runway built by a similar date.