By Daniel Hunter

The costs of building a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow Airports have been substantially underestimated, according to the Airports Commission.

A report by the Commission believes that the plans for a new runway at Gatwick would cost £2 billion more than is suggested in the bid.

And both plans for Heathrow - which include an entirely new runway and the extension of the north runway - would cost £3-4 billion more.

There are alternative options, including a brand new airport in Oxford or the option favoured by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, a new airport in the Thames Estuary, but the Airports Commission previously ruled them out.

The Commission has been tasked with determining the location of a new runway/airport to ease the growing pressure on air traffic in the South East of England.

"We have not yet taken a view on which proposal strikes the most effective balance between the assessment criteria," said Sir Howard Davies, head of the Airports Commission.

"It is important first that we provide an opportunity for this evidence to be examined, challenged and improved. This consultation gives everyone with an interest in the issue of airport expansion that opportunity."

The report suggests that a new runway at Gatwick would be the easiest option, causing the least disruption. But it believes that Heathrow would provide a greater boost to the economy.

A final decision will not be presented until after the general election in May.

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