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Tue, Apr 17, 2012

London ATC Head Says Proposed Thames Hub Is A Poor Airport Location

Sits In The Middle Of The Flight Paths Of Four Existing Busy Airports

The head of Britain's air traffic service Nats says that the proposed Thames hub airport is in "the very worst spot" when it comes to moving airplanes around in London's busy airspace. Richard Deakin, Nats' CEO, said that Air Traffic Control was not taken into account when the $79 billion proposal was developed.

The British government will undertake a consultation on London's airports this summer, with the only option off the table being a third runway at Heathrow, according to an article appearing in the Guardian. Deakin told the paper that the proposed Thames Hub site sits under the flight paths of four of the city's five airports. He said the placement presents "serious challenges" to the integration of an airport into the air traffic systems.

Deakin, a proponent of the third Heathrow runway option, said construction of that additional runway at the existing airport would do more to cut CO2 emissions in the UK than any other option under consideration. He said the third Heathrow runway would eliminated most of the time flights spend in holding patterns waiting to land.

But the coalition which will make the decision is steadfastly against that third runway, and will not even bring it up at the meetings this summer. Deakin said that adding the Thames Estuary Hub would cause flight paths to be altered in a way that would increase emissions and raise the risk of bird strikes. He said it was a little surprising that no one apparently thought that a conversation with air traffic controllers might have been useful when designing an airport plan. (Image provided by Foster & Partners)



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