Committee to debate airport
Proposals for a Thames Estuary airport will come under the
microscope in Westminster today. The House of Commons Transport
Select Committee will be hearing evidence from many people behind
the various airport plans.
Huw Thomas of Foster + Partners, the architects behind plans for
the world’s biggest airport on the Isle of Grain, will answer
questions on the proposal while John Olsen, who is leading a
consortium eyeing up Cliffe as the site of a three-runway airport,
is also due to face MPs.
Medway Council’s communities chief Robin Cooper and Paul Outhwaite
from the RSPB will make the case against the idea shortly
afterwards. The government is due to make a decision on whether to
build a new airport after the next election in 2015.
A report to the committee suggests an airport would
not be commercially viable and would require a substantial public
It says that because the value of the investment was significantly
negative an investor would be unlikely to touch it.
A public subsidy of £10-£30 billion would be needed to get the
airport built, the report by economics consultancy Oxera
The report’s authors have put the value of a new airport at
£15.6 billion by calculating revenues from passenger charges and
taking out operating costs.
In today’s money it would have costs of £43.7 billion, leaving a
significant gap that would need to be made up.
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