Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said Heathrow could become an airport that serves predominantly small businesses if a new four-runway airport is built.
Johnson is in favour of building a new hub in the Thames Estuary. If this were to go ahead he said he could envisage Heathrow becoming a “London City West Airport” and a “tech city” could subsequently develop in the area.
When asked if he thought Heathrow would close if a new hub was built, Johnson said: “Would Heathrow close? I don’t think Heathrow will continue as it is.
“It might have a great future as a business airport. It will be much smaller than 70 million passengers.
“Heathrow could not be a rival hub, but it could be used by all these plutocrats in their jets. You could imagine that kind of thing continuing to happen.
“But you would have all the development potential of that incredible site. Any jobs lost at Heathrow would be readily found again in the developments that would arise there.”
The cost of building a new airport is thought to be around €80-90 billion (£68-77 billion); including around £15 billion in compensation for Heathrow’s owners.
Johnson believes that, whilst the new hub would have to be funded by public sector revenue, it would eventually pay for itself.
He added: “The real cost would be not doing it. That would be a catastrophic mistake.”