Despite having 5 international airports in the region, London Mayor Boris Johnson is calling for a new hub airport in order to alleviate congested air traffic around London according to a report released today.
The report points out that Heathrow, London’s hub airport, has been losing ground in terms of destinations served over the last twenty years falling from second place worldwide in 1990 to seventh place in 2010.
The drop is due primarily to heavy congestion at London’s busiest airport which has made it difficult to allow more flights in and out of the airport on a daily basis.
There is a growing concern in London that many international passengers are now being routed through other major airports in Europe, notably Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris and Frankfurt Airport in Germany. Both of these airports provide more destinations than Heathrow.
Collectively, London’s five airports offer more airport capacity than any other city in the world (New York being second) as London’s geography and influence make it a very attractive destination for travelers. However, with limited airspace, many airlines have been forced to look elsewhere.
The current British government, which took office in May, has been against expansion, setting up a possible showdown between city and national government.
Some groups, including the former government, advocated that London should expand Heathrow by adding a third runway and a new terminal but fierce opposition, mainly from residents around the airport, has thwarted any expansion efforts thus far.
Both Mr. Johnson and the current coalition government have opposed such a plan to expand Heathrow, but with Mayor Johnson calling for a new airport altogether and the recent embarrassment from December’s winter weather woes at the airport, it would seem logical that Heathrow expansion will once again be brought to the table as a possibility for alleviating congestion in London.