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Booker site 'too small' for new airport plan
BOOKER airfield is too small to be considered as a potential site for a proposed new four-runway airport west of Heathrow say local aviation experts.
An Independent on Sunday exclusive claims a £60bn British business consortium with Chinese backing is eyeing-up potential sites 30 minutes to the west of London to rival or even replace Heathrow.
But David Phillips, managing director of Booker Aircraft Operations, says Booker or neighbouring White Waltham won’t be on their radar – because they are too small.
He said: “For something to happen on the scale that’s being talked about you would need somewhere at least four times the size of us.
“We have a 700m runway here and it has to be 3,000metres long. “We are talking about something the size of a town. We are talking about a bit of real estate the size of High Wycombe itself.
“It’s not a business aspiration of ours and I think it’s pie in the sky.
Booker Aircraft Operations lease the site from Wycombe District Council and are hoping to renew it when the current lease expires in 2014.
He added: “From our perspective if anyone is thinking about it, it is the first we know about it.”
Meanwhile, Mike Post, a former airline pilot from Marlow says that even if Booker was big enough the typography would rule it out.
He said: “It’s too hilly.”
The airport hunters’ criteria state that they want a flat site, accessible by road and rail and within half an hour of London.
Both he and Mr Phillips suspect Greenham Common, the site for the peace camps in the 1980s, is most like to be considered along with Upper Heyford, the former military base near Bicester, for any ‘new Heathrow’.
But ex-pilot Mr Post believes the best solution of all would be to resurrect the plans for a third runway at Heathrow, which the Conservatives opposed in 2010 but are considering again now. He said: “My view is that the third runway at Heathrow ought to go ahead. There’s room for it there and it was going to happen there for years and years.
“If you started from scratch you wouldn’t choose Heathrow but it is already there and West London and the Heathrow corridor relies on it being there.”
And he says putting it there would only have minimal impact here because the proposal is for a northerly runway.