But It's For Planes, Not Boats, Silly!: Conceptual Airport For London To Float In Middle Of Thames Estuary

September 10, 2012


This is a conceptual $80-billion airport proposed by architectural firm Gensler to be built in the Thames Estuary to help take some of the burden off Heathrow Airport's two runways (that are already operating at over 98% capacity). Why floating? Because there's no more room on land! I dunno, I say they just build it in the midwest, like in Iowa or something. "Let me get this straight -- a London airport...in Iowa?" Pretty genius, right? I bet land is mad cheap out there.

The concourse would sit in the center of the Estuary, and four tethered runways, each five kilometers long, would float around it. Access to the airport would be provided via a new high-speed underground railway that whisks travelers either to London or off to the rest of Europe. Want to take your car? No problem, as the plans allow for three parking terminals nearby on land.

I can see it now. Flight 782 to tower, where the hell is runway four? Over. "Tower to flight 782, runway four drifted out to sea, over." Also, we should probably ask for Poseidon's blessing before building any airports in the middle of a body of water. "I'm gonna wreck that shit just like I did Atlantis." See?!

Hit the jump for a much more zoomed out shot of the port of airs.


Thanks to Francesco and alex, who agree the best way to help prevent airport traffic is to kick everybody out the plane at 10,000-feet with parachutes. WHEEEEEEEE!!

  • ZomBBombeR

    Conceptually really cool, practically not so much so.

  • Would be very cool piece of design, in my professional opinion I think they should make it!

  • I say we just land the aeroplanes on David Cameron's big flat head!

  • Alex

    What a deal at only $80,000,000,000!!!!

  • they'll need more pylons.

  • jimsquires
  • enigmaDAEDAL

    That's an artificial island. Islands don't float.

  • jimsquires

    You don't float.

  • BillGatesIsYourDaddy

    runways and water...I don't think those go well together.
    If this thing is going to float is it going to be static and they have to allow it to move with any water movements? Will they be able to control the floating movement?
    What if there is a storm and the water is choppy? Are the runways going to be undulating? Last I checked British Airways pilots are not Top Gun veterans that are used to taking off and landing on aircraft carriers in the middle of the ocean.

  • Dom Barlow

    Runways and Water go together just fine, there's loads of runways that end in either a river or the sea around the world (including London's City Airport).

    And bear in mind, it's in an estuary, not in the middle of the sea, and indeed if it's meant to go where I think it is (there's a development planned in the area), it's not particularly close to open water, so the only storms that'll be a problem will probably be a problem for everyone, not just an airport in a silly location.

  • BillGatesIsYourDaddy

    well...what about sharks?

  • wait, if the concourse is in the middle, do you have to cross the runway to get to a terminal? They kind of m c escher'd the ramps that connect the main hub with the runway "pontoons". Even if those things are hollow, it will get pretty loud if the ceiling is also the runway.

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