New London Airport: Floating?

The plan to expand London Heathrow’s Airport has been quite vehemently protested (despite a clear necessity – that airport is not equipped to handle the insane amount of transit it has to cope with!) and so architecture firm Gensler proposed this amazing little treasure: a floating airport.

The “London Britannia Airport” would be an expensive endeavour at £50 billion (US$80 billion) but before you balk at the price, check out what it would have:

  • It would float on the Estuary of the River Thames – so no land to be taken up.
  • It would be surrounded by four floating runways, which would be stabilised with tethering to the riverbed. Heathrow currently only has two runways.
  • Only one terminal. Anyone who’s been to Heathrow and been confused about all the multiple terminals and how to get from one to the other will appreciate this.
  • The airport will connect to London’s train system, as well as the European rail lines, making this hub a transition point between the air and the rest of Europe.

The plan also involves converting the old Heathrow airport into an “eco-city”, which would provide homes for as many as 300,000 people!

The writers at Geekosystem seem to believe that due to the hefty price tag and the legal hoops to jump through ­– not to mention “the sheer insanity of the whole project” – the proposal will never actually be approved. I think it’s a crying shame because that would be one of most epic airports to have ever existed.

What do you think? Floating airport yay or nay?

[Via Geekosystem]

6 Responses to New London Airport: Floating?

  1. That'd be one of the crowning archaeological achievements of earth, never mind England… If only it happened :\

    There should be a kickstarter aimed at billionaires, give them some sort of of free flight incentive packages or a wing of the building in there name, or something :P

  2. This argument came up a few years ago concerning other airport (especially Tokyo). The idea of having an airport over water is compelling to quite a few people, mainly for security. There have been several accidents where a plane has come down short of the runway, or immediately after takeoff, and this is a pilot's nightmare. In an emergency situation, they need a "soft" spot to land. Yes, I know that at 200 knots water is like concrete, but it is always better than the front of a residential building. Secondly, noise levels can be more controlled. Ironically, having an airport further out also means easier transportation, since there are no obstacles to a train/tram/bus line. Plus the fact that a floating airport is just awesome!

    This all comes from someone who lives about 10 minutes from an airport; the Nantes airport is about to "move", and while I understand the reasons (traffic), I really like living 10 minutes away when I travel. Nevertheless, I understand the reasons, and it looks like most major hubs will end up like this, only less awesome than this project. Maybe I'll never have to dread flying through Heathrow again?

  3. If we can build bridges that span miles then why not an airport on the water? The planet's surface is 71% ocean, with the current rate of population growth we're going to have to either move off this rock or develop more resourceful uses of our planet.

  4. I am British, and I have always avoided using Heathrow. If this were to go ahead, it would be awesome. Someone tell Boris Johnson!

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