By Ben Simmons
London Assembly member, Victoria Borwick, has added to calls for an expansion of aviation capacity in south east England.
Launching her report into what the Government should consider doing, Mrs Borwick said that:
“Growth is in danger of being strangled by the lack of airport capacity in south east England.
“Therefore I am proposing that we create a new four-runway virtual hub that would see an additional runway built at Gatwick and for it to be linked to Heathrow by an air-side high-speed rail link thus creating the world’s first virtual hub airport.”
Mrs Borwick’s idea would see Gatwick operate as a “feeder airport” from which people would travel in minutes via high-speed rail hugging the M25 to Heathrow for their long-haul connection.
Explaining, she said:
“We need to make much greater use of the smaller airports we have in the south east. There is no reason why short haul domestic and European flights, including freight, should not operate from these second tier airports. This would free slots to enable the virtual hub to operate where people could arrive at Gatwick to connect to their long-haul flight at Heathrow thus effectively giving London a four runway airport.
“I realise that this may seem radical to some people, but doing nothing is not an option. Heathrow is full to bursting and a Thames Estuary airport and all its necessary infrastructure will take decades to build.
“We don’t have decades. If we want to maintain our aviation lead we need to get on now.”
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