Beckett Rankine unveils Offshore Airport in the Thames Estuary

Courtesy of

With both Heathro and Gatwick pushing their limits, it is imperative that the UK begins to move forward with expanding their global aviation capacity. Over the years, multiple proposals have been presented, including Norman Foster’s “London Britannia Airport”. Now, Beckett Rankine has unveiled an inventive, offshore proposal located on the Goodwin sands in UK territorial waters nearly three kilometres off the east coast of .

Continue after the break to learn more.

Courtesy of Beckett Rankine

At an estimated cost of £39,200, the Goodwin Airport is proving to be one of the most affordable options yet. By locating the airport on the reclaimed Goodwin sands, this proposal offers a number of advantages, including no impact on protected environment, no displacement of residents, close proximity to the London’s high speed rail, and more.

The phased development would start with the construction of three runways served by one terminal building linked to satellite units with up to 150 aircraft slots. Its location will allow for 24/7 operations and a capacity of up to 150m passengers per year. As demand grows, a fourth runway would be constructed with a second terminal building with further satellites serving an additional 150 slots, providing 300 slots in total.

Each terminal will be perched on top its own high speed rail terminal with direct connections to central London, as well as – via the Channel Tunnel, Brussels – Lille, Paris, and the European high speed rail network.

Courtesy of Beckett Rankine

Located at the water’s edge with stunning views of the White Cliffs of Dover, the terminal buildings will also incorporate high speed ferry terminals linking directly to Ramsgate and Dover. The reclamation of the island will mean that these ferry routes will run predominantly in semi-sheltered waters, similar to the Isle of Wight ferries, enabling operating speeds in excess of 20 knots.

A road tunnel will link Goodwin to the mainland, connecting into the trunk road network. In the early phases of the development, there will be sufficient space on the island to provide some long stay car parking with overspill long stay parking located on the mainland. In time as the island becomes fully developed the long stay car parking is likely to be provided on the mainland.

The appearance and functionality of the airport and its terminal will be critical to its efficient operation. And, with an unconstrained greenfield site, Beckett Rankine argues that there will be nothing to prevent Goodwin Airport from being the best airport in the World.

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Beckett Rankine unveils Offshore Airport in the Thames Estuary" 29 Dec 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • henrietta

    What about sea level rise?

  • Alito

    Gensler’s London office already proposed the idea almost 6 months ago. Check out how they resolved the architectural concept, whereas this one seems under cooked.

    • Yola

      Gensler’s proposal was for a floating airport which, with today’s technology, is probably undeliverable. Gensler were also vague about the location for their scheme and did not address its impact on shipping lanes. The Beckett Rankine proposal is for an airport on reclaimed land.

  • Matthew

    £39,200 is a very good price for an airport, I’ll have one of them please

    • SaulM

      good one!

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  • Soupdragon

    I’m sure the people of Ramsgate would be really happy!

    Also placing it in front of one of the busiest ports in the UK, on one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, might be a tiny design flaw.

    Not needed anyway, capacity can be increased at the current south east airports without this pointless exercise.

  • Andrew

    Worst render ever! That’s not 3km from the coast, and nor is the runway long enough for that pretty confused looking plane that’s trying to land …
    Just connect Gatwick to Waterloo and Ebbsfleet via high speed link instead.