Further to the publication of the Airports Commission final report, Thames Reach Airport welcomes the firm conclusion and commitment to maintain and develop a hub airport. The role of a hub is vital for London and the UK, offering a capable platform for regional integration and for connecting Britain to the world.

However the Commission’s appraisal of demand and review of the viable options is inadequate and incomplete:-

  • The review of aviation demand and capacity is short-term and therefore under-estimated, when our competitors are already implementing long-term solutions with higher capacities.
  • Heathrow with three runways will then need more, as acknowledged by the Commission’s dubious proposal to prohibit a fourth runway.
  • Heathrow with three runways does not provide a resilient and reliable hub.  When an incident shuts down one runway we will be back to where we are today, only worse.
  • The legal constraints and safeguards to permit growth at Heathrow are found to be more onerous than those for the ITE.
  • The noise and NOX impacts are overwhelmingly greater at Heathrow than for the ITE.
  • The wider integration and green-growth benefits of the ITE are much greater than those of Heathrow.
  • The purpose-designed, new-build ITE air-rail hub provides a lower carbon audit and much greater capacity for the same attributable cost per passenger as Heathrow.
  • The Commission has not provided a comparative table of attributable costs per passenger for Heathrow and the ITE to enable the Government to come to a decision.

The Government should set aside the case conjured by the Commission to protect Heathrow and allow the competitive long-term Inner Thames Estuary solution to proceed


Thames Reach Airport Ltd.

56 Clerkenwell Road, London EC2A 3EP


 Notes to the editor:

The directors David Cook, Matthias Hamm and Mark Willingale have developed the Thames Reach Airport and compatible Metrotidal Tunnel proposals since 2002 for an integrated-transport solution for a 24-hour, Air-rail hub with up to 6 runways in the Thames Estuary. For further information see also and

Metrotidal Limited and Thames Reach Airport Limited are independent, private sector companies led by consultants who are free from vested interests and are working to encourage inward investment in the new infrastructure needed in the Greater Thames Estuary.

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