September 22, 2008

Johnson to Examine Island Airport Plans

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*The London Mayor, Boris Johnson, is considering plans to build an airport in the Thames estuary as an alternative to further expansion of Heathrow. Officials at City Hall are preparing to examine the possibility of creating a 24-hour airport on an artificial island off the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. The proposals are likely to concern environmental groups keen to protect wildlife in marshland off Kent and raise questions about the wisdom of locating an airport within range of bird colonies. A spokeswoman for Mr Johnson said: "The Mayor is keen to know what the alternatives are to expansion at Heathrow and would like to know whether the idea of a new airport in the Thames estuary would be viable or not." Industry sources estimate the cost of building a Thames estuary airport with upgraded transport links to London could reach 70bn. Airline operators, including Virgin and BA, said a third runway at Heathrow would be the most cost-effective option.

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