Key tests that a mega hub airport must pass

10 January 2013

The Mayor of London has released a draft set of criteria that he believes would provide the fairest possible evaluation of the increasing number of plans proposed to solve the desperate need for more aviation capacity in the southeast. Londoners and members of the aviation, business and political communities are being asked what they think about the new criteria.


Around 15 different proposals have already been made public and the Mayor 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. His draft criteria have been designed to reduce the plans already suggested to a more manageable number by applying rigorous tests of their viability.


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Anybody remotely serious about protecting the ability of the British economy to compete with our global rivals knows that this country desperately requires a multi runway hub airport of the kind being built in huge numbers around the rest of the world. There is not a moment to be wasted and my team has drafted a set of criteria that we believe can provide a firm basis for establishing which of the proposals would provide the best possible solution. Before beginning those tests and to ensure we carry out the fairest possible evaluation we are keen to hear what people think of our criteria.”


An independent group of experts appointed to support the Mayor’s programme of work on aviation has already provided their input into drafting of the criteria, which are as follows:


Economic: The primary driver for an increase in aviation capacity is its economic impacts; it is essential that any proposals taken forward support regional and national economic objectives and maximise the economic and social benefits for the UK.


Airport infrastructure: Any new airport facilities should meet the needs of airlines, passengers and freight by enabling an efficient, effective, safe airport operation that is competitive with the best airports in the world.


Airspace: Aviation safety remains paramount. Any increase in aviation capacity must address conflicts with existing airports and comply with current and future airspace regulations, including the continuing ‘Single European Sky’ initiative.


Surface access: These criteria are designed to ensure that an airport has the required access provision: drawing on the widest pool of passengers, staff and freight will be essential to any airport’s success. Sufficient new road and rail capacity is integral to any airport option, and a high public transport access mode share will be key to ensuring sustainable airports. New-build airports such as Hong Kong have achieved a public transport access mode share in excess of 70%.


Environmental: The impacts of aviation on local communities and the natural environment must be minimised if any expansion of aviation is to be sustainable.


Deliverability: Any new aviation capacity must be capable of being delivered. This must take into account likely planning and construction issues and the need to secure funding.


Daniel Moylan, the Mayor of London’s advisor on aviation, said: “There are new airports being built all over the world and a new hub airport in the southeast of England would be the trigger to kickstart the economic growth, new jobs and prosperity we all desire. We have got to find the right place to build that airport and the Mayor is strongly in favour of a site to the east of the capital but we will use these criteria to evaluate all of the proposals on the table.”


A consultation on the criteria will run until February 8. Once agreed they will be used to form a shortlist of options from the range of proposals already made public. Options on the final shortlist will then be the subject of detailed feasibility studies that the Mayor of London will submit to the Davies Commission.



Notes to editors


  • Transport for London has 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