Posted on Tuesday 24 June 2014 by Ulster Business

New london hub airport would boost ni economy

Boris Johnson is an opponent of a third runway at Heathrow and has drawn up plans for a new hub airport on the Thames Estuary

A new four-runway hub airport in the southeast of England would deliver 710 new jobs to Northern Ireland and boost the economy here by £92m over the next 26 years, according to a new report commissioned by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Making Connections was compiled by consultancy firm York Aviation using data from Oxford Economics and also said a new airport in the Thames Estuary, as opposed to an additional runway at Heathrow, would also boost the number of flights from Belfast to London to 12 from nine currently.

Mr Johnson is an opponent of a third runway at Heathrow and is attempting to build support for his idea for a new London hub east of the city, one which is expected to cost around £100bn, around six times the cost of the Heathrow expansion.

Belfast is currently one of just seven UK cities with direct flights to Heathrow – the others being Aberdeen, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle – and the report said a new airport would also increase the number of UK destinations to use the proposed hub.

For the UK as a whole, that would boost the economy by £2.1bn by 2050 and create 18,000 jobs, the report said.

Louise Congdon, Managing Partner at York Aviation, said the new airport would be beneficial to UK regions.

"There is no doubt that of all the options for expansion currently under consideration by the Airports Commission a new four-runway hub airport would provide the nations and regions with the best connectivity to the UK's main international airport," she said. "This could include eight new regional routes and a more frequent service for cities that have a Heathrow connection currently.

"It might surprise some people that a third runway at Heathrow will do little to improve regional connectivity and not support any new routes due to commercial pressures on airlines"

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