Anyone got a Plan D?
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s aviation advisor, Daniel Moylan, had us all laughing in our seats during his keynote address on why the UK needs a new hub airport at this week’s MRO Europe conference. In addition to striking gold by finding a politician who had a sense of humour, the session made for an interesting and entertaining debate on the future of London’s airport network.
Where, when and of course, how much were the most popular questions circulating the room and while Moylan entertained us with his, dare I say, political charm, questions were still left unanswered. Although none the wiser as to where the proposed airport would actually end up, the estimated cost was shared by Moylan. He said it would take £25bn in construction costs alone for a new four runway airport in London to be built by 2029.
As it stands, all of Boris’ proposed plans have been criticised for various reasons ranging from endangering wildlife to unhappy residents. This led Moylan to call for a Plan D to be brought forth, unfortunately there were no suggestions.
Heathrow currently operates at 98 per cent capacity and represents the most noise polluting airport in the whole of Europe. And Moylan was extremely vocal about ruling out the option of a fourth runway at the airport, suggesting that the current site would instead make a lovely shopping centre or aquarium.
Moylan, who has previously described Heathrow as a “life-expired asset”, defended the higher charges that the new hub may inflict on operators, if located elsewhere, by claiming "a new airport may mean thinner margins for airlines but no airport means no margin for airlines”. But with no approved plan in motion the possibility of a new London hub by 2029 looks unlikely, with some even questioning whether it would happen in our lifetime.