By Jonathan Davies

A new airport in the Thames Estuary would provide more jobs than any other option put forward by the Airport Commission, according to new figures released today (Wednesday).

The figures suggest that a Thames Estuary airport, the preferred option of London Mayor Boris Johnson, would support 336,000 jobs and contribute £92.1bn to the economy every year by 2050, around a third more than an expanded Heathrow and more than five times as many jobs as an expanded Gatwick airport would provide.

A survey by the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce found that the Kent business community supports proposals for the airport to be built in the Thames Estuary.

The Airport Commission is currently considering different options, including the expansion of Heathrow or Gatwick and a new airport in the Thames Estuary, to alleviate the growing overcrowding at London's airports.

Those opposed to the idea have described the Thames Estuary option as "environmental vandalism". But Boris Johnson said the decision comes down to "planning for the future" or "depressing short-termism".

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "A new hub airport, properly planned, has the potential to reshape the economic geography of London and the whole of the southeast for decades to come.

"It would be a project of a scale we are no longer accustomed to in this country, though it has become commonplace elsewhere. We simply cannot afford to miss out on the opportunities a new airport would give us.”

Richard Lavender, Director at the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have surveyed our members and they have given strong backing to the proposal to build a new four runway airport in the Thames Estuary. Our members have endorsed it as the best way of providing the hub capacity the UK desperately needs. It will provide fantastic global links for businesses in Kent and it is the only long-term strategic solution to the airport capacity shortage. The local economy will be transformed, bringing thousands of new jobs to an area that has suffered from decline and low investment”.

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