Airport expansion (Supplementary) [3]

Session date: 
December 12, 2007
Question By: 
Peter Hulme Cross
One London Party
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


You are against the expansion of London City Airport and when Crossrail is up and running you have said that you would like those people who use City Airport to take Crossrail to Heathrow. Yet you are against the expansion of Heathrow, which is already at full capacity. There seems, therefore, to be a lack of logic in your position. There are still going to be people - business travellers mainly - who want to use City Airport; it is very successful. Your strategy seems to be one to stifle growth, which is necessary, as you have said yourself, for London's economy to thrive.

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Airport expansion (Supplementary) [3]

Answer for Airport expansion (Supplementary) [3]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

It depends how you look at technologies developing. I have no doubt that about ten years down the road most of our cars will be fairly close to being pollution free. I think car manufacturers are making big efforts because they see the way public opinion is going. There will be some improvements in air travel but nothing like on that scale. They are going to be at the margin and until someone invents a plane that can be lifted off the ground by photovoltaic cells rather than a series of kerosene explosions, that just is not in anyone's timescale. Therefore, I think we have to honestly face up to the fact that there should be no more flights next year than we have today. Whatever the growth of genuinely needed business travel is and I think about 38% of the people going through Heathrow are business travellers, their needs should be prioritised and short-haul leisure trips should be reduced. I would immediately cancel the landing slots at Heathrow for air travel to Paris and Brussels. It is complete nonsense. That would immediately give you one of two things: 6% more capacity or a chance to reduce the number of planes coming through and therefore reducing the abominable conditions that everyone suffers.