Has the Olympic Development Authority designed a new London airport in the QE Olympic Park

First 747 comes in to land on the main runway at London's Olympic Airport

A 747 comes in to land on the main runway at London’s Olympic Airport. The Terminal, designed by Zaha Hadid, was previously an Aquatic Centre

A 747 pilot mistook a footpath in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for a runway and the Aquatics Centre for an Airport Terminal. The passengers disembarked safely. After a short walk to Stratford International Station many remarked that it was a much easier journey into London than from Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick airports. A journalist on board contacted the Civil Aviation Agency. No one was available for interview but a spokesperson issued a written statement saying that the plane must have ‘come in below the radar’. Another spokesperson, for the Olympic Development Authority, said they wanted to generate revenue from the Park and it was only a trial. One wonders.

6 thoughts on “Has the Olympic Development Authority designed a new London airport in the QE Olympic Park

  1. Robert Holden

    Dear Tom,

    Not necessarily disagreeing with your point that there are wide open spaces in the Olympic Park, however, one can list the following points in favour of the Olympic Park:

    1.It is playing a part in the redevelopment (Stratford City) of part of East London
    2.It hosted a successul Olympic Games in 2012,
    3. The cross section profile of the Lea Valley has been opened up so there are vistas
    4. A major water detention basin was developed, so helping avoid flooding,
    5. Water areas were valued in themselves and will provide a habitat (I think),
    6. The area has more biomass than previously (though one might debate whether it is more or less than if nothing had been done),
    7. A major public park has been provided in East London and it will have significant uses, e.g. the Stadium, the Swimming Pool, etc.
    8. Re your point, trees take time to grow and with time exposed areas will become enclosed, and
    9. For once, management and maintenance have been planned for.

    I would like to see someone measure the biomass and biodiversity of the Olympic Park over the next ten years, maybe a doctoral thesis suggestion?

    Yours, Robert

    1. Tom Turner Post author

      I agree with your points: there is much that is good about the QE Olympic Park and I guess it will be a popular success – eventually. I also think some of the faults are correctable eg the Stratford shopping centre (Westfield) could be projected to the stadium as a market street with different stalls of many different types: farmers’ market/book market/antique market etc. This would get round the enormous over-sizing of the footpaths.
      To add to your list of good things about the QE Park: it is the first London park which REALLY welcomes cyclists. There is already something of the Amsterdam Bos about seeing togged-up families on bikes coming to enjoy the sunshine.
      I can also add a criticism: it is difficult to take photographs which make the park look really good.

    1. Tom Turner Post author

      In the Good ‘Ole Days of BT (=Before Terrorism) catching a plane was like catching a train. You turned up and you hopped on. Now you have to plan for 2 or 3 wasted hours of airport shopping. Since I know have a lifetime’s supply of travel accessories, designer manbags and branded shirts, I would rather spend this time exercising in Zaha’s beautiful pool. So I would put up some sheds for the formalities of air travel and use the Aquatic Centre for R&R – shared of course with local people. Apart from this, yes: I would have it as an elite airport, like London City Airport.


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