Dubai Airports CEO says Boris Island 'unfundable'

Griffiths urges UK Government to back a 3rd Heathrow runway instead.
NEWS, Aviation

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Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths has called Boris Johnson’s proposal for an £80bn aviation hub in London's Thames Estuary “unfundable”.

Griffiths urged the UK Government to back a third runway at Heathrow because “Boris island” cannot be built in time to ease the UK's lack of airport capacity.

In comments published by the UK's Evening Standard newspaper, he said: “Heathrow needs to be expanded now because of the immediate pressure on growth.

"Maybe Boris island is the solution for the future but I don’t think it is possible to build it in time. You’ve got all the expense of investing in that project without the productivity arising from it and at the same time you are forcing airports in the London system to become ex growth.”

He said more capacity could be created at Heathrow by introducing night flights, changing the flight profile of planes and operating runways more flexibly.

He contrasted Heathrow — which is near full capacity at 68 million passengers annually — with Dubai, which by 2018 will have doubled capacity to 90 million passengers.

He told the Standard he believes there are three major obstacles to the Boris island concept - it is “unfundable”, it would damage the environment and also the rail and road links would be hugely expensive.

“Many cities have built large airports out of town and as a result have constructed white elephants because they are not successful. Montreal is a very good example,” he told the paper.

As CEO of Dubai Airports, Griffiths is behind plans to increase capacity at Dubai International Airport to 90 million passengers by renovating Terminal 2 and building Concourses 3 and 4.

Completion of the Concourse 3 project, the world's first A380 facility dedicated for use by Emirates Airline, is expected by the end of 2012, increasing capacity to 75 million passengers.

Dubai International is currently the fourth-busiest airport worldwide for international passenger and cargo traffic.