Mayor announces world-class team to develop hub airport plans

11 February 2013

The Mayor of London has appointed a world-class team of experts to help develop plans for a multi runway hub airport in the southeast.

Today (11 February) the Mayor will also give oral evidence to an aviation inquiry convened by the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee. Committee members are expected to ask him why developing a new hub airport is so important to London and to explain why further expansion of Heathrow is impossible.

Appointing a world-class team of experts has added further weight to the work being driven forward by the Mayor to address the nation’s aviation crisis. He has made it very clear that he wishes to see the speediest possible resolution to the debate on where to build a multi runway hub airport, so that the British economy is given the best chance to prosper in the face of huge competition from its global rivals

The Mayor has confirmed that the following organisations have all been engaged to help with work being prepared for submission to the Government. They will provide expertise under the following themes:

Airport design & infrastructure

  • Atkins - one of the world’s leading design, engineering and project management consultancies. Projects they have worked on include the London 2012 Olympics, Bahrain World Trade Centre and the Dubai Metro. Atkins will also lead on consideration of surface access and environmental impacts.

  • Zaha Hadid Architects –Zaha Hadid was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize (considered to be the Nobel Prize of architecture) in 2004 and is internationally renowned for her theoretical and academic work. Time Magazine included her in their 2010 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. She has worked on globally celebrated projects such as the London 2012 Aquatics Centre and Guangzhou Opera House in China.

  • Pascall & Watson architects - Previous projects include Heathrow Terminal 5, Dublin Airport Terminal 2, Rome Fiumicino Airport Masterplan. They also designed St Pancras International Station.

Socio economic impacts

  • Ramboll – a leading international engineering and management consultancy with a track record of examining the economic impact of airports and other infrastructure from around the world, supporting key developments in European air traffic control, working on the new Thames Crossing and developing National Policy Statements.

  • Oxford Economics – a world leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis for business and government with unrivalled experience of exploring the economic impact of the aviation sector and airports for clients including IATA, ATAG, BAA and Airbus and developing economic forecasts and scenarios for London.

  • York Aviation – a leading firm specialising in the assessment of the economic impacts of aviation and aviation demand planning.

  • Professor Peter Tyler - Peter is a Professor in urban and regional economics in the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge and Fellow at St. Catharine's College. Peter has an extensive track record in undertaking research for the public and private sector and an established reputation in the field of urban and regional economics with a particular emphasis on the evaluation of policy. He has been a Project Director for over seventy major research projects for Government.

Commercial viability

Legal and regulatory

  • Ashurst The leading global law firm, which specialises in advising corporates, financial institutions and governments. Their core businesses are in corporate, finance, energy, resources and infrastructure.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “It is absolutely imperative that work to progress a new hub airport in the southeast is completed as soon as possible. The Government has set a timetable that dawdles when dash should be the order of the day. That is why I have assembled a mighty team of experts who I have tasked with delivering a fulsome examination of the most realistic solutions to our aviation crisis in the shortest time possible, which I look forward to sharing with the Government.”

Around 15 different proposals for a new hub airport in the southeast have already been made public. The Mayor has consulted on criteria that will be used to evaluate each of those proposals and to form a shortlist of options. That shortlist is expected to be announced within weeks and the team now assembled by the Mayor will combine their expertise to produce detailed feasibility studies of the shortlisted options that the Mayor will submit to the Davies Commission.


  • In January Transport for London also appointed a Peer Review Group to support the Mayor’s aviation work programme. This group has been asked to provide independent advice and expertise to the Mayor, in a personal capacity. It comprises the following individuals:

Chris Cain, Principal, Aviation Strategy and Policy ConsultancyMike Forster, Director, Forster AssociatesJohn Green, Managing Director, Face GroupProfessor Sir Peter Hall, Bartlett Professor of Urban Regeneration and Planning, UCLProfessor Paul Hooper, Chair of Environmental Management and Sustainability, MMUBridget Rosewell, Senior Partner, Volterra PartnersBob Schumacher, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, for a leading airline. Roy Vandermeer OBE QC, Inspector, Heathrow Terminal 5 Inquiry

  • Our major European rivals continue to make a range of capacity improvements and though none face the capacity crunch that Heathrow does, many are already working up plans for how and where to accommodate future hub demand. In short, the UK needs to rise to the hub capacity challenge if UK connectivity – and the UK economy – are not to be left behind.

  • The total cost of building a new 180mppa hub airport – including terminals, runways, ancillary facilities and rail and road access links – is estimated to be around £75-80bn.

  • Under the right conditions, a new hub airport in London, could be delivered with private finance and be operated as a commercial viable business

  • It will be impossible to deliver a new hub airport without a clear expression of Government Policy in place which is supportive of a new hub airport.

  • This is likely to be expressed through a National Policy Statement (NPS) for Aviation which would need to set out the Government’s policy support for a new hub airport.

  • The Mayor believes London requires a world-class hub airport that:

    1. has sufficient runway, apron and terminal capacity to support the predicted level of demand effectively and develop an extensive route network;

    1. maintains no more than 75% runway utilisation. This will avoiding queuing of planes on the ground and in the air and ensure there is sufficient resilience in the face of disruption;

    1. allows the hub to operate around defined waves of arrivals and departures, which maximise the efficiency of airline operations while increasing the transfer opportunities open to passengers;

    1. has state of the art modern passenger facilities – including dedicated facilities for premium passengers – to attract passengers and airlines alike;

    1. is renowned for the ease of making connections to minimise transfer times - ensuring its attractiveness for connecting passengers versus other hubs;

    1. offers a journey time to central London of ideally half an hour and no more than 45 minutes – commensurate with international best practice;

    1. absolutely minimises its local environmental impacts; and

    1. is located in an area where the wider economic benefits of a hub can be maximised.

  • With the political will, a new hub airport serving up to 180mppa could become a reality by 2030.

  • A new airport of this size could support around 500,000 full-time year equivalent jobs.