Boris reveals "Aerotropolis" plans for estuary

London Mayor Boris Johnson meets market stall holders in Hyderabad Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

London Mayor Boris Johnson has revealed plans to create an "Aerotropolis" in the Thames estuary if his controversial new airport is built.

The proposal would see Boris Island developed as a new city as well as a new airport.

The Mayor's plans were revealed on a visit to the Indian city of Hyderabad where the airport boasts a business school, hospital and exhibition centre.

It comes as Mr Johnson said the UK had "much to learn" from India when it came to building airports, as he arrived in the city for talks with senior officials.

The London Mayor also met executives from GMR for a 15-minute presentation on the airport the Bangalore-based group built in the city, widely regarded as India's new silicon valley.

Aides said he found the meeting "informative and illuminating".

Mr Johnson, a vocal opponent of the Heathrow expansion, has argued for a new four lane runway to the east of London, in the face of opposition from some in Government who have argued for a third runway to be built at what is already the country's largest airport.

Significantly, GMR has recently built a new airport outside Istanbul in Turkey, as well as a hub at Delhi.

Mr Johnson said: "This airport in Hyderabad is very impressive. The Indians are very ambitious but they are very efficient as they use the airport to grow the local economy. They are quite right. We have much to learn."

As part of efforts to cement contacts in Hyderabad, Mr Johnson will meet officials from the office of the city's state governor.

He will then head to the Indian Business School - one of the top 20 in the world - to give a speech aimed at encouraging investment in the UK.

Hyderabad is regarded as India's most up-and-coming city outside of Mumbai and Delhi, specialising in the high-tech industries, and Mr Johnson is keen for its firms to establish their European base in London and bring many highly-skilled jobs.

Afterwards, the mayor will head to Mumbai, where he will hold a reception at the British High Commission with England's victorious cricket team.

The event will also be attended by Indian business leaders.