Airline passengers flying into Heathrow face 16 more years of stacking and stress at the world's busiest airport before a four-runway rival could relieve the capacity crunch, according to Boris Johnson.
As Friday's deadline approaches for applications on increasing Britain's airport capacity, the London Mayor dismissed adding extra runways at Heathrow and Gatwick as "intellectual cul-de-sacs". He came out firmly in favour of a new airport on the Isle of Grain in north Kent but that would open no earlier than 2029.
Launching Transport for London's evidence to the Davies commission, which will assess the varying options, Johnson lambasted politicians for failing to provide more airport capacity earlier.
"We've been sitting around like puddings for the past 40 years doing nothing. We have squandered decades and other countries are eating our lunch."
TfL has whittled down its 16 options to three, each with four runways. The Isle of Grain best combines regeneration with connectivity, said Johnson. A rail link would reach central London in less than half an hour.
Its other options are a new airport on reclaimed land in the Thames Estuary and massive expansion at Stansted.