Estuary Airport (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
June 14, 2009
Question By: 
Kit Malthouse
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)


Mr Mayor, would you agree with me that had the British Airways flight that crash landed just within the perimeter of Heathrow a year ago landed 800 yards short of where it eventually landed we would not be having this conversation about "if", we would be having a conversation about "when" we move Heathrow Airport? If the third runway is announced and Heathrow continues in its position when an airliner ploughs into the suburbs of west London would you please take the opponents of the estuary airport and the Members of the Labour Group with you when you go to console the families and communities who will have lost members?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Estuary Airport (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Estuary Airport (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)

Well, let me say just in general and come back on the point that Murad made about the long term, the "this is never going to happen" argument. By the way, you can make the "this is never going to happen" argument about aviation itself. I do think it is crazy that London is the only substantial city - certainly in Western Europe and as far as I know in the world - that allows huge numbers of flights to over-fly the central conurbation raising exactly the risk that you posed today, Kit. I think it is absolutely crazy we continue this. We need a better solution.

Len Duvall (AM): Just to make it clear, Labour Members support the rest of the Assembly Members around this table in opposing the expansion of Heathrow. It is not new to your colleagues. It might be new to you because you do not take an interest in Assembly matters. As you have just suggested earlier on in a sense that you agree that there should be increased capacity for London - which I think is quite controversial in itself and will be of further debate - you have got the study going down in Sheppey. What other work then are you doing around Gatwick and Stansted around options for that capacity if you say there is an issue around that?

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL): Well, what I said just now was that there were proposals that people have been raising about a variety of solutions around the whole of the London perimeter. What I was suggesting was that when we do our study we should look at the totality of it. I have not seen any particular work done by anybody in this body about Gatwick or any of the other points you raised.

Len Duvall (AM): Can I just say, if you believe, as you have stated, that it is important to London's economy then I think we will take your answer - if you would just confirm it - that when it comes back that we get the estuary airport, when you are in a position to share that further that you will look at it in its totality because you believe it is important to London's economy that the capacity issue is looked at in its totality. Can you just confirm that again? I just want to be clear about it because I am not sure. Some people would say your comments earlier were like a little retreat back from the estuary airport rather thanfully signed up to it, this is the way where it should go long term. I want to be clear about your thinking; this important issue that you say is for London and its economy about the airport capacity. What is it that we are going through to the next stage when we get this very important piece of work coming back on the estuary?

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL): I do not want to prejudge anything that Doug comes up with. I personally am very attracted by the idea of an estuary airport. I want to make it absolutely clear to everybody listening and watching that there might be other solutions and it would be remiss of us not to explore.

Len Duvall (AM): Thank you.