‘It’s a Kick, But not Sure if a Kick-start’

Grahame Nix OBE served as Chief Executive in Marshall Aerospace before being appointed the chair of LEP Greater Cambridge and Peterborough. Photo: Hunts Post 24
Grahame Nix OBE served as Chief Executive in Marshall Aerospace before being appointed the chair of LEP Greater Cambridge and Peterborough. He is a fellow of Royal Aeronautical Society. Photo: Hunts Post 24

Critics and analysts say UK economy needs a kick-start to get back in shape and ‘kicking’. In a debate, I faced a group which said the much anticipated Boris Island can be that kick-start. I replied- well surely Boris Island is going to be a kick, but no one knows whether it would act as the needed ‘kick-start’ eventually!

Was I wrong? If you look into other options in hand- a new runway for Heathrow, a new runway for Gatwick, linking Gatwick with Heathrow and Heathrow’s development who’s estimated respective costs are £12 billion, £5 billion, £3 billion and £1.2 billion, the estimated £50 billion Boris Island project surely raises eyebrows.

Even if we go for two options together, the ‘Heathwick’ one (connecting Heathrow and Gatwick) considering two new runways added to both the airports, its estimated cost would total to £20 billion, which is less than half of that of Boris Island. In addition, construction of Boris Island would leave Heathrow and Gatwick into risks of massive upheavals caused by under or even no utilization. The figures get quite stunningly high when we take this interview of Ryan Air chief Executive Michael O’Leary into account.

This is how the 'Boris Island' Airport at Thames Estuary would look like. Photo: UKIP
This is how the ‘Boris Island’ Airport at Thames Estuary would look like. Photo: UKIP

Dr Robin Gowers, an economist and leader of Anglia Ruskin University MBA in Chelmsford who was among the audience, asked would it be feasible with respect to the current economic realities to spend that amount of taxpayer’s money in face of options those would do the job costing much less than half of that.

So when I promptly replied, “It would be a kick for sure but it might eventually become a fatal kick instead of a kick-start that would kill us all!”, the audience was jubilant, including my colleagues who asked the question.

We were attending MBA Study Weekend held by Robert Jones last Saturday where Grahame Richard Nix OBE, the current chair of Local Enterprise Partnership for Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough and former chief operating officer of Marshall Aerospace, came as a guest speaker. He spoke on the background and the realities of the presently much anticipated Boris Island, a major airport at Thames Estuary proposed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson to substitute London Heathrow.

As part of the session, Mr Nix split the audience, constituted of part-time and full-time MBA candidates of Lord Ashcroft Business School of Anglia Ruskin University, into two groups to engage in a debate in favour of and against the Boris Island. I led the full-time MBA group to speak against it. After we finished our presentation, an elated Mr Nix ensured that he is going to use the ‘kick-start or fatal kick’ bit in future opportunities to speak on the issue.

The debate however ended somewhat in favour of Boris Island. Mr Nix, having stated clearly that the chance is fifty-fifty to much extent, said that the cash the construction would require is not ‘huge’ for UK in general and as the country’s economy would heal and get in shape, the UK government eventually might start to take position in favour of the new airport over the time.

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