Mayor says Estuary would outperform Heathrow

The Mayor of London has released a report suggesting that a new airport in the Thames Estuary would support more jobs than an expanded Heathrow.

The Oxford Economics report, “Gateway to our Future: Why the UK needs a new hub airport”, says a four runway estuary airport would support 336,000 jobs around the country in 2050. This is more than Heathrw claim for a three-runway Heathrow, or that Gatwick suggest would be created by a two runway Gatwick.

The Airports Commission, who have been charged with recommending a strategy for providing new aviation capacity, are expected to announce within a matter of weeks whether building a new airport in the Thames Estuary should be added to their formal shortlist of options – recently there has been speculation that they are most likely to rule it out of contention.

The Mayor says the comparative figures represent the number of jobs that will be supported by the operation of each airport, and its supply chains. They do not account for the additional jobs that would result from the development of new business activity.

It is not clear if they also take in to account the jobs that might be lost around West London and the Thames Valley – around 250,000 – if Heathrow closes.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “A new hub airport, properly planned, has the potential to reshape the economic geography of London and the whole of the southeast for decades to come. It would be a project of a scale we are no longer accustomed to in this country, though it has become commonplace elsewhere.”

The report suggests the economic contribution of a Thames Estuary airport to the UK economy would be greater than a three runway Heathrow – £92.1bn of additional national GDP each year is forecast in comparison £59.1bn from a three runway Heathrow, and £22.6bn from a two runway Gatwick.

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