Page last updated at 18:59 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 19:59 UK

'London' airport name change row

London Oxford Airport
The airport has no direct transport links to London

A row has started over Oxford Airport which changed its name to London Oxford Airport despite being about 60 miles away from the capital.

The airport in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, said it hoped the rebranding would raise its international profile.

Tony Joyce, of Oxford Civic Society, said: "I think it's absurd. Changing the name will only mislead people."

However, Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce said it was a "good idea" which could benefit the whole region.

'Orbital airports'

Claire Prosser, policy executive from the chamber, said: "Oxford and Oxfordshire is a place in its own right but you're linking tourism and business and it's an excellent business opportunity.

"We appreciate most orbital London airports are never that close, this shouldn't be that different."

Distance to London Airports
London City nine miles (15km)
London Heathrow 18 miles (29km)
London Gatwick 30 miles (48km)
London Luton 34 miles (55km)
London Stansted 38 miles (61km)
London Southend 43 miles (69km)
London Oxford 62 miles (100km)
London Ashford 73 miles (117km)
Source: Google Maps - shortest route starting from Parliament Square

London Gatwick Airport is 30 miles from Parliament Square and London Luton is about 34 miles away, according to Google Maps.

Mr Joyce said the difference between those airports and London Oxford, was the latter had no direct transport links to the capital.

But even further from the capital than the Oxford airport, and with no direct transport links, is London Ashford Airport at Lydd in Kent. It is 73 miles from Parliament Square.

Ms Prosser said she hoped the name change would attract more passengers and in turn encourage better onward transport links to the Kiddlington-based airport in the future.

Airport spokesman James Godfrey said there were already plans for Chiltern Railways to call at south Kidlington at a new station due to be built at Water Eaton Parkway in 2013.

He said currently Hanborough was the nearest railway station, which was a five-minute drive away near Long Hanborough, Oxfordshire.

Mr Godfrey said transport links were not an issue as the airport exclusively served business passengers, many of whom had drivers to collect them.

He said the airport received about 10 foreign aircraft per day and hoped the rebrand would increase passenger numbers, but he had no reliable way of measuring how successful the rebrand was.



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