Looking back – and forwards at London’s airports

Head for Points made an interesting post which links to a video about Heathrow in 1964.

This was on the same weekend as The Economist published a front page article looking forwards to what the future may hold for airports in and around London. The article is here.

The 1964 film indicates that it is expected that Heathrow would be full ‘soon’ and that Gatwick and Stansted were being developed! So not much change nearly 50 years later it seems.

The Economist article is interesting for a few facts:

  • Expected demand for flights from London is predicted to increase only 1.4% per annum until 2030, in comparison to an annual rate of 5% for the past 40 years.
  • Much connecting traffic, once vital for Heathrow is being taken up by the superhubs in the Middle East
  • There is a lack of evidence that increased airport capacity has an increase in economic activity
  • 10% of passengers at Gatwick connect, and 30% at Heathrow
  • ‘Boris Island’, named after the London Mayor who suggested a Thames Estuary airport could cost £70bn
  • There is a 4 runway as well as a 3 run option for Heathrow expansion, with 4 new runways built to the West of the current runways, as opposed to the third runway which is slated to be north of the current airport

There is a video looking at the various options.