• Join FlightAware (Why Join?)
  • Login
  • US Flag 
05:47PM EST


Airport Tracker/Info



Squawks & HeadlinesHeathrow replacement a floating airport?

Back to Squawk list

Heathrow replacement a floating airport?

An American architectural firm has waded into the fray over London’s future airport. Gensler, with a broad portfolio and worldwide offices, envisions replacing Heathrow with a set of floating platforms anchored in the Thames Estuary, connected to runways about 16,000 feet long. It’s not the first design of its kind, but it may get top marks for looks, released to the world this month with a colorful set of renderings that depict a setting worthy of a science fiction classic. Curved domes enclose… (www.aopa.org) More...

Sang Le
Jet setterWeekly PickNews junkieMaxed OutDeputyEnthusiastTrusted friendHonor RollDaily PickExplorerCriticGroupieSocialiteOutspokenAmateur PhotographerPromoterAltruistEnlightenedAnnouncerAutobiographer

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

shawn white 3
The idea is great but actually building it sounds hard. Getting people out there by boat would be slow and all vehicles and equipment would have to be shipped in as well. There would have to be an underwater pipeline for fuel, and tons of other logistics problems. And a question I thought of, would the airport be on inflatted cushions floating or anchored to the seabed like an oil rig in the ocean? If it was floating, they would have to have huge electric or nuclear engines to pump air into the flotation devices. If it had legs attached to the floor, the runway would have to be extremely rigid, and they would need a humongous assembly to make legs big and strong enough to reach the floor while still holding up the airport. Now building a new airport somewhere slightly farther away from london sounds better...
Paul Ahkolik 2
"Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce to you the British cousin of Kansai airport."
tim mitchell 2
well at least they built an island...these folks want a floating airport
tim mitchell 3
sense they are essentially designing a giant aircraft carrier they should also install catipults and catch cables..lol
John Clarke 1
A friend of mine worked in the ATC Experimental Unit at Bournemouth (Hurn) Airport back in the 70s. They were already concerned about runway capacity back then (remember Sheppey?). For all the modelling, they found that the real limiting factor was not the runways but the airways into & out of the airports. Nowhere near the Thames estuary would work - the only solution was to use the airport ATCEU was at, Hurn, but that was (and probably still is) politically unacceptable.
Martin Connor 1
In the 1970's, it was proposed that an airport be built on the Maplin sands. They even started a large scale test on the sands, which was visible for many years from above. The idea was scrapped by a new government. Southend-On-Sea would have been the largest area affected, and it has several business prefixed Maplin which gives a clue to their age.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_Estuary_Airport
But... how would you plane spot at this airport?
Joseph Howes 1
well it would be nice for a water airport but that'll only come in the future
Peter Douglas 0
If the whole airport was floating, perhaps it could be always aligned into the wind, thereby reducing stresses on the planes (and the passengers) of cross-wing landings.
David Sims 4
The problem with that would be the instrument approach procedures. Every time the runway is moved more than a foot or so, the instrument approaches would have to be rewritten and reapproved.
Robert Lewis -1
I'm no engineer or architect, but why not make the runways just long enough for regionals? Maybe 9-10,000 feet, and let the "heavys" use the land based runways. This would still help with a lot of the traffic, and makes the idea a little more achievable. (Or less unachievable, is probably the better way to say that)
connor oslie 2
while this would reduce congestion for land based airports, the point of RJs is to bring pax for the heavies.
This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard, why not just build a 3rd runway or increase capacity at Gatwick, there is plenty of space. Do they know the environmental effects of doing this the cost? Most likely this airport will be underwater like much of the coastlines, due to the loss of Arctic ice that has been occuring.
Brian Bishop 7
Um.... if it's floating, how would it be underwater due to rising sea levels? (scratching head...)
Scratch all you want, that's besides the point, the design doesn't make sense. Building an airport on water? That poses all kinds of risks: waves, seal levels, movement, etc. Its not anymore eco friendly than heathrow especially if a 3rd runway is added resulting in less circling. Waste of taxpayer dollars, the ultimate plan is to build onto gatwick, improve transportation from there. Educate the neighborhoods of heathrow and sell the 3rd runway issue, or build off gatwick.
Justin Wong 2
It is possible to build an airport at sea all you have to do is to build the land high enough so that can cope with waves. Numerous airports in Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong are built on reclaimed land from the sea.
Brian Bishop 2
Well, you brought the point up, so you must've thought it was relevant.
tom duff -2
If a plane misses the runway it will be a wet landing.
Toby Sharp -2
....this is such a joke
Peter Douglas 3
16,000 ft runways are pretty hard to miss!
tim mitchell 2
lol....if you miss that how in the heck did you "Ever" get your license....heck if you miss that you should never be allowed to fly a kite