The nation faces “increasing economic paralysis” unless a new hub airport is built in the south east of England, Boris Johnson has warned.
The Mayor of London made the claims while giving a speech to the Institute of Directors marking the publication of the second in a series of reports examining why more aviation capacity is needed.
The report talks of an “undisputable economic argument” that greater aviation capacity is required both by the capital and the whole of the UK.
It says that a new hub airport should become a pillar of the government’s planning for economic growth, and warns that without one the UK will “lose its place at the top table of the global economy”. It also warns that the UK’s only hub airport at Heathrow is now running at 98 per cent of its capacity and unable to provide services to the destinations demanded by the world’s business elite.
Mr Johnson said: “In the next 15 years 75 million Chinese households will enter the middle classes. It is a phenomenal market and we need our engineers to be able to hop on a plane and build their infrastructure. We need their business leaders to fly in and consult with our contract lawyers. However their business is already being snaffled up by our friends on the continent who chortle at our continued inertia.
“There is no doubt that to do nothing will lead to economic stagnation. The government must now grasp the nettle and begin serious plans for the multi runway solution that can keep London and our great nation in the premier league of the global economy.”
Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors said: “The IoD welcomes the Mayor of London’s valuable contribution to the debate on the future of aviation.
“More airport capacity is needed now more than ever. We shouldn’t settle for what we have, but need to rediscover the ambition that made this city great.”
The Mayor of London’s team intend to publish a report next year on the best possible location for an airport.
Mr Johnson’s comments come weeks after architects Foster + Partners and consultant engineer Halcrow revealed details of their £100,000 study into a £50 billion vision for the Thames hub.