In his ceaseless quest to increase the south east's airport capacity, London mayor Boris Johnson has hired a 'mighty team of experts' to push forward his plans.
As everyone knows by now, the mayor is opposed to the controversial third runway at Heathrow, despite a slapdown from prime minister David Cameron last year when he criticised an inquiry on airport expansion. Expansion of Stansted, the recurrent estuary 'Boris Island' plan or building a whole new runway beside the Thames are much better ideas apparently. We are only surprised that Southend wasn't in the hat too though plans for a floating airport were, erm, floated last year.
Setting out the case for his preferred options, Johnson said:
"Stansted is really replete with potential. If you look at the journey times, the costs and the potential productivity in the Lea Valley, you can see huge potential for Stansted. It's got a lot going for it."
And on the Thames option:
"My engineers think the journey time to the inner estuary from London would be quicker than to Stansted."
While we all know his feelings about Boris Island. When the mayor started on the subject of Stansted last year, the BAA said there was no demand for it and we can imagine expansion of the existing airport will be about as popular as, well, a high-speed rail link between Birmingham and London. In fact, anyone living near the three proposed sites are unlikely to be nearly as excited as the mayor about the prospect of an international airport on their doorstep.
The Department for Transport has apparently not yet to responded to the mayor's comments. We expect they're gently banging their heads against the nearest wall and perhaps crying quietly inside.
Photo by O.F.E. in the Londonist Flickr pool.