Arab investors are keen to fund the proposed Thames Estuary Airport, the deputy mayor of London has revealed.
London mayor Boris Johnson has pioneered the project as an alternative to building a third runway at Heathrow airport.
Dubbed “Boris Island”, the airport would be constructed on two artificial islands in the Thames estuary, 3km from Sheerness in Kent. Financing was set to be a key stumbling block in constructing the island airport, with costs expected to exceed £40bn.
But Kit Malthouse, Johnson’s deputy, told the Conservative Party conference in October that foreign investors have expressed an interest in bankrolling the project.
A spokesman for the mayor’s office said: “There has been lots of interest in funding from the Gulf region. We need to think of imaginative ways of funding the project because constructing it will be more expensive than a traditional airport.
“However, we need to determine whether it is feasible before we act on any of the enquiries we’ve had.”
Former ICE president Doug Oakervee, who masterminded Hong Kong’s island airport, has conducted a feasibility study on the scheme for the mayor’s office. The results of the study have yet to be released.
Buro Happold director Alan Regan, who worked alongside Oakervee on Hong Kong Airport, believes the Thames estuary project is a realistic prospect. “It’s perfectly feasible from an engineering perspective,” he said.
“If funding can be secured the only hurdles that remain are planning, environmental impact assessments and gaining political support. Unfortunately those issues can take decades to overcome.”