Known as “Boris Island” because of Mr Johnson’s backing, the plan would have led to the development of a four-runway airport on the Isle of Grain.

The Airport Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, is now considering whether it is better to build a third runway at Heathrow or a second at Gatwick.

Irked, Johnson described the decision as “desperately short-sighted” and, writing in the Telegraph, added that a third runway at Heathrow would be “a disaster for hundreds of thousands of people living under new flight paths, who currently have no idea of the peril.”

Airlines however welcomed the decision.

Board of Airline Representatives in the UK chief executive, Dale Keller, said “Airlines were never convinced that the Thames Estuary was either affordable or a convenient location for the majority of their customers.” 

Sir Howard’s final report is expected next summer, but the government won’t take a final decision on which airport should be expanded to created room for much-needed extra flights until after the General Election.

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