Boris Johnson has urged ministers to seriously consider building a new international airport in the Thames Estuary.
The mayor of London said that Heathrow – the “only true hub airport in the UK” – is running at 99 per cent of its capacity and is lacking in the number of seats it offers to China when compared to European competitors.
He added that this could have a negative impact when it comes to winning new business in China and other developing markets.
His call came after figures showed that Frankfurt offers 17,500 weekly seats to airports in mainland China, Paris Charles de Gaulle 15,000 and Amsterdam Schiphol 11,000. However, Heathrow offers just 9,000.
The mayor urged ministers to protect the capital’s worldwide business reputation by developing a long-term plan to increase aviation capacity in the South East with a new airport.
The mayor’s response to a Government study claimed that London’s global business position was threatened because European cities with better air links to Asia were at an advantage.
Johnson said: “This great country of ours risks becoming an aviation backwater unless we find a location to provide the extra runways that are so desperately needed.
“Without those runways we will lose business to our European competitors and we risk relegation from economic powerhouse to merely a bit part player in the global economy.
“We cannot go on as we are and I respectfully urge the Government to make it a priority to consider plans to build a full service, round the clock, multiple runway hub airport of the type that so many of our neighbours already boast.”
His submission to the Government came after figures from the Department of Transport predicted that all of the capital’s airports will be running at full capacity by 2030.
Daniel Moylan, deputy chairman of Transport for London, said: “Several ideas have been put forward to try and address our increasing lack of runway capacity.
“But I remain to be persuaded of there being any workable solution other than the creation of a new hub airport. And the obvious location for a 24-hour airport with the least possible impact on the local population is the Thames Estuary.
“A true ‘airport city’ of the type never seen before in the UK would provide the capacity we need and provide vital support to the UK economy.”
Some 130,000 people work at London’s main airports, which are central to the success of the capital’s export driven economy.