Aviation consultant defends "Severnside" airport ambition
THE man behind proposals for a Gatwick-sized airport near Newport has defended his ambition.
Both Cardiff and Bristol airports would need to be sold if a £5billion Severnside Airport was to be built.
John Borkowski said there were too many regional airports, and that a larger hub would boost the economy.
But bosses at Cardiff International Airport, which is owned by the Welsh Government, said they was focusing on improvements while Bristol called the plan unrealistic.
Previous proposals for a "Severnside" airport were rejected more than a decade ago by the UK Government.
Fresh proposals have now been submitted to a UK Government group looking at the future of air travel.
They promote the idea that a major airport should be built somewhere along the Welsh coastline, south of the former Llanwern Steelworks site in Newport, by about 2029.
It would include a 4,000m main runway with road links to the M4, sea links and rail links to the main London-Wales mainline.
One thousand people would be employed, while there is also potential for 10,000 support jobs, the proposals said.
The airport would also be capable of handling large, transatlantic planes and freight flights, with the number of passengers forecast to rise from 14 million a year initially to around 40 million by 2050.
Mr Borkowski, a former British Airways executive who has his own aviation consultancy, said the future of air travel in the UK will depend on less regional airports and more large hub airports, partly to reduce the environmental impact but also to aid economic development.
"What we're talking about is a big airport, much more attractive, with state-of-the-art facilities," he told BBC Wales.
"I mean, if you look at Cardiff and Bristol, the facilities are okay for a small regional airport but they are not equivalent to the sort of stuff you find in big international airports."