The Engineer Q&A: Thames Estuary airport

Your chance to put your questions to the engineers and architects behind proposals for an island airport hub in the Thames.

Proposals for an airport in the Thames Estuary have been discussed since the 1970s, but recent calls to increase London’s airport capacity – and huge opposition to further expanding Heathrow – have led to the revival of the idea of creating an artificial island to serve as the country’s air travel hub.

A government Airports Commission is currently considering a range of possibilities put forward as solutions to the airport capacity problem. We’ve lined up the engineers and architects behind two of the proposals for island airports to answer your questions about the engineering challenges that would be involved in such a project.

Foster and Partners, the firm behind Hong Kong’s airport located on an island largely reclaimed from the sea, has proposed a four-runway airport known as Thames Hub built on a platform on the Isle of Grain.

The Thames Reach Airport Consortium has suggested an AirRailHub that not only includes a four-runway airport on the Hoo Peninsular but that could also be combined with the proposed MetroTidal project that would integrate flood defences, tidal power generation and a sub-estuary rail link.

We’ve also asked the leader of Arup’s infrastructure design group, Tim Chapman, to provide an external view on the challenges of constructing this kind of scheme and set it in the context of the other airport expansion options on the table.

Comments have now closed. Thanks for your questions. We’ll publish the answers in the October digital edition of The Engineer magazine and here on the website.