London mayor proposes closing Heathrow

London mayor proposes closing Heathrow

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
London mayor proposes closing Heathrow

The Mayor of London says the pollution would be intolerable for people who live near Heathrow airport. AP photo

London’s Mayor Boris Johnson has proposed shutting Heathrow airport, one of the busiest in the world, and replacing it with a major new hub to the east of the capital. Setting out three proposals to end Britain’s chronic shortage of air capacity, Johnson said a new four-runway airport would create thousands of jobs and allow London to compete with rival international transport hubs.

“For London and the wider UK to remain competitive, we have to build an airport capable of emulating that scale of growth,” he told a press conference on July 15.

Despite being one of the world’s busiest airports, Heathrow in west London has only two runways and is running at 98.5 percent of its capacity. For years politicians have wrestled with contentious plans to give Heathrow another runway.

 On July 15, he put forward three alternative locations for a new four-runway hub, including his long-touted proposal to build an airport on an artificial island in the River Thames, dubbed Boris Island.

The other two ideas are to expand Stansted airport northeast of London, which currently has one runway, and to build an airport on the Isle of Grain in Kent on the River Thames.