Plane stupendous

In: Uncategorized

28 Feb 2008

The newly opened airport in Beijing looks amazing. Its architects evidently describe it as “the biggest building on the world”.

A comparison with London’s Heathrow airport is instructive. According to an article on the BBC website :

“Beijing’s terminal is twice the size and about half the cost of Heathrow’s new Terminal Five, which is due to open next month.

“Beijing has got from start to finish in four years. Heathrow has taken nearly 20.”

The BBC tries to soften the comparison by pointing out that the Chinese authorities, unlike those in Britain, do not have to engage in a lengthy consultation exercises.

But there is nothing democratic about such exercises. The slowness is more a symptom of Britain’s lack of dynamism and culture of excessive caution.

It is also sad that the small band of reactionaries who are campaigning against Heathrow’s third runway after often viewed so sympathetically. They should have the right to protest but their cause is entirely backward-looking.

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