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NEWS Last modified on July 5, 2013

Study backs calls for new London four-runway hub

Campaigners for a new London gateway claim a new report proves that London must build a new hub to safeguard its air links.

Only a gateway with four runways can ensure London’s connections with regions such as Asia and Latin America, according to York Aviation.

In a report commissioned for Transport for London, the consultancy claims that expanding London’s current gateways – Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted – would provide far fewer flights.

While six runways across three sites could serve 358 destinations by 2050, a new four-runway gateway could offer 435, according to York Aviation.

The report is being submitted to the Airports Commission, due to reveal its conclusions in 2015 on how London can preserve its connectivity.

London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, a strong opponent of expansion at Heathrow, has seized on the report’s conclusions as “definite proof” that London needs a new hub.

“To get the flights we need, it has to be four runways operating efficiently in one place rather than spread haphazardly across the South East,” he said.

“A four-runway airport will secure us the direct connections to the emerging markets around the world that will allow us to compete with our international rivals, who are busy building and growing their mega airports even as we speak.”

York Aviation concludes that a single new hub could serve more than twice as many destinations in China and South America as a dispersed solution.

South American connections could increase from three to 13 destinations, according to the report. These 10 new destinations could include twice-daily services to both Lima and Santiago de Chile, both now served by rival European hubs.

A four-runway airport would also enable direct flights to be re-established to Fukuoka, with two flights a day, finds the report.

X’ian in China, a city of 7 million with strong software and aerospace industries, is another destination that could be served by a four-runway hub, according to the report.

While Heathrow has put its case for its expansion as a hub, the Mayor’s aviation adviser, Daniel Moylan, ruled the airport out as a four-runway gateway.

“This is a description of a national asset that Heathrow, with its severe size constraints and dire noise impacts, can never become,” he said.

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