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UK Planning Chief Says "Close Heathrow"  
User currently offlineDavid_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7808 posts, RR: 13
Posted (13 years 7 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 4453 times:
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Sorry, 1st time up the planning chief's comment wasn't shown in the header!

This story in the Guardian newspaper says that one of British planning chiefs wants LHR to be closed and an airport built in the Thames Estuary instead i.e the Cliffe option that was bandied about in the proposed UK Airport white paper.

And of course, if this airport is built airlines will pick up the tab in the form of increased charges which they'll pass onto the passengers.


62 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineBmi330 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1455 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (13 years 7 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 4367 times:

A would give the firemen what they want its probaly cheaper than closing LHR

User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (13 years 7 months 1 week ago) and read 4350 times:

Totally agree.

Close Heathrow, start afresh, then we can really start competing with the likes of CDG, FRA, AMS etc.

User currently offlineRichardw From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 3839 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (13 years 7 months 1 week ago) and read 4338 times:

If they did build a new London airport it would have to be the best in the world, can't see the British achieving that.

User currently offlineAFa340-300E From France, joined May 1999, 2084 posts, RR: 25
Reply 4, posted (13 years 7 months 1 week ago) and read 4325 times:


Wouldn't the new airport be too far away from London's downtown? LHR gets the lion's share of the high-yield passengers (and airlines' demand) because the airport is close to the city's downtown. Wouldn't the battle for LGW be worse than what it currently is at LHR, in case the latter airport would be closed?

With such projects, there's always the risk of making a Mirabel or Malpensa airport again...

Best regards,
Alain Mengus
Air Transport Business

User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (13 years 7 months 1 week ago) and read 4300 times:

LGW only has 1 runway, so I doubt there'll be much competition to get in there, especially if a new airport is built....and there aren't any plans to build new runways at LGW in the near future.

As for LHR, yes it is closer to London than LTN, LGW, STN but the problem as I see it, is how can you possibly expand properly at LHR?...the airport is hemmed in on all sides (especially to the east). And the problem is that we somehow have to cater for a massive increase in demand for air travel....in my humble opinion, trying to expand LHR is not the ideal solution....

If a new airport is built (I have my doubts, most people don't seem to like the idea), then obviously appropriate transport infrastructure must also be put in place....distance doesn't always stop people from flying from another airport in any case....look at the success of STN (yes, even with business travellers).

In any case, with high-speed connections to London (through road/rail), the 'friction of distance' needn't be relevant...

User currently offlineRickB From United Kingdom, joined May 2003, 243 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (13 years 7 months 1 week ago) and read 4272 times:

I cant understand what the problem with expanding heathrow is - to the west is the M25 which could always be diverted into a tunnel - and other than the resevoir on the opposite side of the motorway there is plenty of land to expand Heathrow and build additional runway space etc. - it would also be possible to migrate the entire airport West giving a bit more breathing space to residents.


User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 9027 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4070 times:

This is ludicrous. If LHR wasn't so viable, why do we have DL, CO, NW, and US all wanting LHR rights? Location is everything, and it only takes 15 minutes by rail to get to the centre of London from Heathrow; I believe it is at least double that for LGW, and an hour for STN.

As for expansion, putting the M25 into a tunnel would be a mess. Take a look at what we have here in Boston, trying to put a 1.3 mile segment of the I-93 underground. This is Year 12 of the project, and the cost is $14 Billion dollars (£9 Billion). There is also signifigant red tape that would accompany the project.


User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4053 times:

To build a world class airport would require more space than is available without huge environmental impact-but in theory it's a good idea, the area currently taken up by Heathrow would almost certainly be put to industrial use. But such is the value of land in London that any vacant land that becomes available which is near good road and rail links (which it would be) would not be vacant for long!

Cliffe is a red herring and has no chance of becoming a reality within 15 years at least-so expansion is required at current London airports at least for the medium term.


you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offlineEg777er From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 1844 posts, RR: 13
Reply 9, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4027 times:

Proximity to Central London is not the reason for Heathrow's pre-eminence.

Rather, it is the massive amounts of interline traffic from Europe, the Middle East and Africa that makes it so popular with carriers from all over the world. In this respect, it fuels its own popularity. Consider that for 75% of the world's airlines, LHR is their flagship route.

For many years LGW was more convenient to the centre of London via the Gatwick Express (which has been around for 20 years, as opposed to the Heathrow Express, which has existed for 5). However, LGW does not have the interline traffic like LHR.

Consequently, if you built an airport in the Thames Estuary and then moved all operations in a 'Big Bang' (like they did in HK with CLK) you would find the airport just as popular - in fact more so as all the US airlines currently out of Bermuda II would start ops.

User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4014 times:

"it's a good idea"

Yes, the thing is, the British Government doesn't like implementing good ideas, which is why it's drug policy is a shambles, as is its transport infrastructure and higher education........for good ideas, one has to look to mainland Europe....or even America, in the case of Higher Education.....

User currently offline411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3932 times:

The idea of building a "new" London airport in the Thames estuary was considered and abandoned over twelve years ago, too late now I think....

User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8360 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3911 times:

I think we may see serious plans for a new airport built on the Thames estuary east of London.

For starters, it will allow for something like a six-runway configuration, which will allow for far more takeoffs and landings per day than it is now possible at LHR regardless of weather conditions. Secondly, if the airport is put in the right location we can even entertain the possibility of true 24-hour operations with British QC4 (eg., ICAO Stage III) noise limit rules, which could really allow air traffic load to be spread further apart on a 24 hour period. Thirdly, they could build a high-speed rail line from the new airport to any number of stations in downtown London. Finally, with an all new airport they could build the type of large terminals like we see at SIN and HKG, terminals with enough gate capacity to handle huge increases in traffic and even allow dual-level jetwalk access to the Airbus A380 or even a new Boeing large airliner based on blend-wing body (BWB) technology.

Because the airport will be built on the Thames estuary, they won't need runways longer than 11,500 feet to accommodate even the A380, since hot and high operations are not an issue here.

User currently offlineBA777 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 2192 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3896 times:

Now isnt the time, Air Travel is gonna boom through the roof.

Then again, when the likes of SQ and VS get the A380, LHR will have to "adapt" to them too.

Its a win and lose situation  Sad


User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 14, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3809 times:

London doesn't have a "downtown" - it's not Phoenix you know. London is a series of towns that join up, and Heathrow is only convenient for some of it. The financial centre ("The City") is in the east; if you get the Paddington Express (the very slick 15 minute rail link trumpeted above, incidentally the fare is £12 one way, that's twenty bucks for our American cousins) you're only halfway to The City (at least 15 stops on the tube or at least an hour by road from Paddington Station).

South London is more convenient for Gatwick, cos LGW is also one of the main train stations in the country and has brilliant rail links from many dozen southern towns and suburbs, plus the M23 motorway (straight to LGW and beyond to Brighton) starts in inner south London as the A23 and goes right through so it's easy to get on your way. I live roughly between LHR and LGW, closer to LHR (all the planes I see flying over my neighbourhood are to or from LHR) but LGW is much easier to get to, whether by road or rail.

Stansted is as nearly as good as LHR for much of north London, cos the rail link is from Liverpool Street Station (north north east London) and the M11 is a fast motorway trip through open country (about 45 mins). To get to LHR from north London by car is either a hellish struggle round the North Circular road (invariably awful), or out to the M25 (which is often stationary) then round to LHR. Train is either a lot of tube stops to Paddington and the Express (£12 remember) or A HELL OF A LOT OF TUBE STOPS (like 30) to LHR.

As said above, Heathrow is the number one interline station on the planet which is why it is so desirable, and a new London airport that had all of LHR's business plus room to expand would be the world's number one airport by a country mile. Demonstrators trying to sabotage the project wouldn't be environmentalists (well, they'd be in there somewhere) but mostly employees of AMS and CDG.

I have often wondered why they don't build something in open country or in the Thames, and the land Heathrow is on would be very valuable. Don't know what a new airport costs but the sale of the LHR property would be a great down payment.

fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 17593 posts, RR: 50
Reply 15, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3751 times:

Anyone want to make a cost comparison,

Choice A.) Buy out most of the Nimbys around LHR and reconfigure the runways, and build new ones to allow for dual landings and departures. At least 4 pararell runways, and a crosswind runway.

Choice B.) Build from scratch a new airport, including all needed infastructure (fuel tank farms, substations, rail links, highways, sewage etc) with atleast 6 runways and enough terminal/gate space to house all that are fit to serve the the airport.

Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 47
Reply 16, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 3708 times:

The Thames estuary idea has been around for years. It does have the advantage of being big enough to absorb LHR's operations and then some, and could be a serious rival to CDG or AMS who are now siphoning off a lot of the transit traffic for people who find LHR a real chore to connect through.

The downside is that building an airport on a landfill would be near prohibitively expensive, would need viable transport links, and a realistic way of getting people from west London and beyond out there without having to go to the hassle of trying to fight through Central London at rush hour. The old Cross-rail idea might have to be put back on the table in order to do it. In addition, the environmentalists would be apoplectic, tying up the project for years, further driving up the costs.

It might be cheaper to buy up additional land around LHR-but then the nimbys and the environmentalists would have a fit about that too...

Charles, SJ

The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineSean-SAN- From United States of America, joined Aug 2002, 801 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3663 times:

I second the notion that LHR is only popular because of connecting traffic. Taking the underground to LHR or Gatwick Express to LGW takes almost the same amount of time, at roughly the same price.


User currently offlineEg777er From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 1844 posts, RR: 13
Reply 18, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3615 times:

Ctbarnes, the Crossrail concept is very much 'on the table'. In fact, it's more likely to happen than it's ever been! Visit http://www.crossrail.co.uk.

(For any one who doesn't know, Crossrail is a high speed, high-capacity railway system that will link Reading in the West with Docklands and Essex in the East, using two tunnels through central London. It is very much on the lines of the RER in Paris - but where the RER took over the Suburban lines, Crossrail will use the main lines. Crossrail Line 2 is the new name for the Thameslink 2000 project.).

I agree with above. Build to replace Heathrow. Give the new facility a cincrete infrastructure, move all ops in a 'Big Bang' and then demolish LHR for housing!

(Much as I love LHR, I'd have no compunction about sending it to its death.)

User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3598 times:

Unfortunately Crossrail has been on the table since 1987, and although it looks as if it will eventually go ahead the fact remains that it should have been finished 10 years ago. Look at the Railtrack/Virgin West Coast Mainline upgrade fiasco which is now 500% over budget and will never reach it's potential, it's no surprise to see that private investment is so hard to find for public transport projects such as this and Crossrail. I don't think there are any monetary issues to prevent rebuilding Heathrow, but whether there is sufficient capital available for the ancillary services such as new rail lines (that's new lines not just new services on existing lines) is a different matter-and without such infrastructure there is little point in expanding Heathrow.


you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offlineGAWZU From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 236 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3584 times:

Taking a broader view of the situation in the south east UK, closing Heathrow and constructing a new multi-runway airport in the Thames estuary certainly has its merits. The plans released by the Government in July generally overestimate the demand for air travel, and I can't see a second hub airport at Cliffe being economically viable if LHR remains open. Primarily, LHR is the preferred London airport for most airlines, and it would take significant financial incentives to lure airlines away from a fully operational LHR to Cliffe.

As it stands, Heathrow is a mess and there is virtually no room for expansion now T5 has the go ahead. To state it is an airport fit for the C21 is ridiculous. Granted, it is theoretically possible to bulldoze the surrounding area to make way for new land, but this would naturally suffer severe opposition in the locality, and would be more than likely be decided by a lengthy, time wasting, money draining and generally pointless public enquiry, just like we endured with T5.

By closing Heathrow and constructing a new multi-runway airport in the Thames estuary, runway capacity in the south east would grow by 2 or 3 or even 4 new runways and there would be a significant reduction in the negative effects suffered inland at least. From my perspective, this therefore has to be a commendable option and is good to see someone on this namby-pamby island has a brain between their ears.

Heathrow is by no means the be all and end all of London airports. It would certainly be the last choice on my list if I needed to fly, especially given the close proximity of Stansted nearby.

User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3574 times:


You sum up neatly the problem with getting anything properly & efficiently done in this country....although I have certainly enjoyed my few years here in England, I've noticed the English (or British, whatever you prefer...) have this amazing ability to make things more complicated than they have to be, yet they somehow manage to make it all work in the end....just...and even then, not always.

Mad dogs and Englishmen? So true, so true.... Oh well, at least they have a great sense of humour....  Nuts  Big grin

User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 22, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3566 times:

The good captain is right, this is not an easy country to get anything done. I don't know what the locals would complain about it they were bought out, it's not nice around Heathrow, thoroughly scary in fact. If I lived there and the BAA offered me above market value for my pad, I'd tear their arm off in pure excitement. "Honey! We're finally getting out of this crime-ridden industrial hellhole! Get the kids! No, today. Right now! Engine's running, get in, get in!!"

fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
User currently offlineCatflap From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 73 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3542 times:

Isn't the key decision point, next months court case in which the government appeals against a European Court of Human Rights ruling against night flights at Heathrow ? If the government loses, the scene will be set for an end to night flights from Heathrow.

There may also be huge financial issues because the individuals who won the case have been awarded compensation. Should the appeal fail others may also be able to claim that they have been similarly afflicted, and claim similar amounts. As I understand it, in the long-term Heathrow won't be able to compete with the likes of Schipol and CDG if night-flights are banned. The key point about Cliffe (or the 'floating' option) is that it will be designed from the outset to ensure that no-one is exposed to noise levels sufficient to wake them up.

As for the costs I don't see these as quite the issue that some others do. Large infrastructure projects are seen as benefitting the economy by creating employment and giving the government a good excuse to claim back some of the money we give to the EU. In fact, I think you'll find that construction companies donate heavily to government and the more expensive the project, the better as far as they are concerned. Whilst the scale of investment may appear large, you have to remember that it will pay-back over 50-100years.

The road and rail improvements needed will not only benefit the airport. They will form a major element of plans to regenerate and expand the derelict areas to the East of London (The Thames Gateway Development) In esssence what you have to bear in mind is that they aren't planning to just build an airport. They are planning to develop the Thames Gateway. The airport is a central feature of this plan and will provide the excuse needed to invest large sums of public money in infrastructure improvements. I remember people saying that the Channel Tunnel was a non-starter because of the cost. Now, they are talking about building another one.

User currently offlineGAWZU From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 236 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (13 years 7 months 6 days ago) and read 3517 times:

Catflap is right with regards to the upcoming European Court of Human Rights ruling against night flights at Heathrow. What bugs me with regards to night flying is that despite their cause, the majority of anti-noise campaigners are quite happy to use an airport when it suits them.

Using Stansted as an example, I know countless numbers of local people who take several extra short breaks every year with the LCCs. Many of these strangely oppose any airport expansion however - they don't appear to realize that they do nothing more than justify the Government's forecasts!

25 Catflap : The following letter from BA has been sent out to a number of people protesting against the plans for Cliffe. The last paragraph neatly sums up the go
26 Post contains links AFa340-300E : Hello, Proximity to Central London is not the reason for Heathrow's pre-eminence. This very argument was mentioned -- among others -- in surveys condu
27 BHXviscount : If the 'cliffe' project was to go ahead it would have a devastating effect on the economy of west London and the 'M4 corridor' towns like Reading Slou
28 Srbmod : If the proposed airport @ Cliffe were to be built, some of the airports in the region would have to be closed regardless. By adding another airport to
29 Arsenal@LHR : Someone tell me how you actually "close" LHR? LHR is not a small corner shop in the high street, it's a international airport.
30 Singapore_Air : Well I think it's totally ludicrous. A new airport would cost loads, will go over the budget for sure and will take such a long time there's no point.
31 Post contains images Capt.Picard : Well, there are probably quite a few examples out there....look at Kai Tak, for one. As with everything, there'll be a cost/benefit equation to work o
32 Voodoo : The Thames Estuary idea reminds me of another place. Build London's Mirabel and in 20 years everything will be back at London's Dorval. Alain Mengus,
33 RayPettit : Has anyone considered the political fallout of closing LHR? Many firms in the area would be lost or at best relocate, putting tens of thousands of liv
34 Qantas744 : Thanks for the earlier comments Captain, most Brits are not prepared to accept how small (and sometimes quite unimportant) the UK actually is. We are
35 Post contains links Qantas744 : Ray: Unfortunately Hounslow Borough council is providing funds towards the cost of HACAN's night flights protest in the European courts, and my local
36 Post contains images Capt.Picard : If the decision swings in favour of expanding LHR, then I agree, let's have a meaningful, significant expansion and improvement of present facilities,
37 BHXviscount : What about expanding west? M25 should't be a probelm moneywise to move/intergrate/improve as cost of Cliffe would be enormous, better save some money
38 Arsenal@LHR : Not possible to expand to the west, first you have the M25 (aka world's largest car park), then ofcourse there's Slough, Reading in Berkshire. No spac
39 Post contains images Leezyjet : Personally, I think that when T5 is finished, they should move the T1 and T2 traffic over there, knock down T1 and T2 and re-build them, then once tha
40 BHXviscount : Arsenal@LHR- west of LHR is A3044 then west of this is stanwell moor then also in location is that sewage plant there is available land to expand and
41 STT757 : I would tell the EU to mind their own business, throwing lots of money at folks around LHR to either shut-up or move out would be way cheaper than spe
42 STT757 : Buyer/renter beware.
43 RayChuang : Folks, I personally think the British government should seriously consider building a "super airport" out on the Thames estuary with high-speed rail c
44 Jwenting : If nightfligths are banned from Heathrow, it is only a matter of time before they are banned from all competing airports too. In fact, the Belgian Gre
45 Post contains links Qantas744 : Here's a link to the estuary plans-note that this is not the Cliffe option outlined in the white paper. http://www.teaco.co.uk/report.htm#Introduction
46 Donder10 : Even when,assuming Cliffe goes ahead,the new airport is fully functional,LHR would still be useful to have as an O&D airport.
47 Catflap : STT757 This is the kind of outdated attitude that is fuelling the anti-aviation movement. If you simply tell people to put up with something, and they
48 Post contains links GAWZU : Regarding Catflap's previous comment, I believe that this is becoming increasingly the case. STT757 is certainly correct in that "[residents] knew it
49 BHXviscount : GAWZU- sounds just like anti BHX campaign! got really bad feeling that BHX will close and STN left alone, a little tinkering er bodging with LHR T5 an
50 Donder10 : It's ironic that in the medium term this ''night flight compensation''will amount to a one-off unemployment cheque as the opening of a modern,airport
51 Qantas744 : Which is exactly why I find it so hypocritical that Hounslow Borough Council helping fund this nonsense, Hounslow has the most to lose if LHR were to
52 EGGD : Closing LHR will be a logistical nightmare, I really can't see it happening. It'd also cost an absolute bomb....
53 Donder10 : I agree 100%Matt.I was on the H20 the other day and saw a poster, of which 1/2 the poster was taken up by 'THE 3RD RUNWAY COULD AFFECT YOU'.I have to
54 Post contains links Qantas744 : Hounslow Council is staying on the fence with respect to the third runway, at least until it has got the results of it's online residents survey, but
55 Donder10 : The thing thats makes me laugh the most is a lot of the HACAN massive live in Putney and surrounding area.I spend the first 16 years of my life there
56 Qantas744 : Whitton isn't exactly under the flightpath so the noise isn't as bad as some might expect, Richmond station or Hounslow High Street when landings are
57 LJ : A closure of LHR will be great for CDG/FRA/AMS. They'll launch even more flights to LCY in order to get a piece of the pie. BTW my company used either
58 Donder10 : I'm more or less in Hounslow(technically is still Whitton)and about 100-150metres South of the 27L approach. Did you see the KLM744 tonight by the way
59 Qantas744 : Unfortunatley my view of the glideslope is obscured by houses, when the 09's are in use I see everything taking off except the odd very 'heavy' 744 an
60 Donder10 : I was at the BP garage on the A30(West of Hatton X)a few weeks back and when the BWIA 343 took off I thought it was taking the forecourt with it.
61 VgnAtl747 : Even if a new airport was built, it'd be years before it opened. You have to ask yourself if air travel is really increasing? Is there going to be a n
62 Donder10 : The forecast is for air travel to double in the next 20 years.The slump in air travel seems to be much more prolonged in the US than Europe-even South
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