Alternative Heathrow Airport expansion plan revealed

Property firm unveils alternative design for Heathrow expansion that it claims costs ‘under half’ the amount of the current third runway plan

  • Property firm Arora Group has revealed its own third runway scheme for the expansion of Heathrow Airport
  • The group says it would concentrate new capacity at London hub between Terminal 5 and the M25 motorway  
  • But Heathrow says Arora Group’s proposals ‘show a complete lack of understanding of airport operations’ 

A hotel and property company has unveiled designs for expanding Heathrow in a way it claims is much cheaper than the airport’s own plan.

Arora Group says its third runway scheme would cost ‘under half’ the amount of Heathrow Airport Limited’s (HAL) scheme.

The firm, founded by tycoon Surinder Arora, wants to concentrate new terminal capacity between Terminal 5 and the M25 to avoid having to redevelop Terminals 2 and 3, which would be ‘far more expensive and disruptive’.

A infographic showing how Arora’s plans would feature an elevated bridge, wide body taxiways and flexible aircraft parking

Another graphic shows how the alternative plans would affect passengers. Arora Group claims it would minimise the number of level changes they would need to make 

HAL’s plan has the support of the Government, and it will receive outline planning consent if it passes a vote in Parliament due in the coming weeks. 

Amid concern from airlines that they will be hit with increased fees as a result of the project, Arora Group says it offers a cheaper alternative. 

It estimates that building a new runway and accommodating 130 million passengers per year would cost £14.4 billion under its method.

Although HAL has indicated its plan will cost £14 billion, Arora Group claim that this is ‘misleading’ as it will need to invest further to accommodate the full capacity of passengers.

It added: ‘The Arora plans are therefore ultra-efficient and at a cost of under half HAL’s.’

It stated that the Government’s Airports Commission estimated the HAL plan would cost £31 billion.

Arora’s plans include ‘two wide body taxiways to reduce congestion points, triple taxiways to maximise connectivity to the future north runway, flexible aircraft parking for wide and narrow body aircraft, dual access from the M25 and A3044 and an elevated bridge concourse that enables easy navigation for aircraft underneath, with flow–through taxiways between north and south runways to enable operational flexibility’. 

Heathrow has unveiled a number of infrastructure proposals such as tunnelling the M25, the location of expanding terminal facilities and three options for the length of the new runway varying between 3,200 metres and 3,500 metres.  

An artist’s impression showing plans by Arora Group for an alternative proposal to the expansion plans for Heathrow Airport

Mr Arora explained: ‘Heathrow has been in monopoly control for too long and our proposals show what can be achieved through an alternative approach and Heathrow fully welcoming competition.’

A spokesman for British Airways’ parent company IAG urged the Government to allow third parties to run terminals at the west London hub.

He said: ‘The Arora proposal looks very interesting and deserves to be properly evaluated so that customers can get the best facilities at the most affordable price.’

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger described the Heathrow expansion as a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ to challenge the status quo.

Heathrow has unveiled a number of infrastructure proposals, with this graphic showing how a new terminal would be built right next to the new runway

An artist’s impression showing Heathrow’s current preferred plans, which already have the support of the government 

Heathrow Airport Limited hopes to begin construction in early 2021, with the third runway completed by the end of 2025

He added: ‘Arora have developed a plan that will bring down the cost of construction and inject competition at the UK’s hub airport.

‘At first look, this plan appears to be a credible alternative.

‘Virgin Atlantic believes passionately in the benefits of competition to consumers, so we urge all involved in Heathrow expansion to give the Arora plan serious consideration.’

Another rendering showing Heathrow’s proposal. The airport says Arora’s plans show a complete lack of understanding of airport operations

HAL hopes to begin construction in early 2021, with the third runway completed by the end of 2025.

John Holland-Kaye, HAL chief executive, said Arora Group’s proposals ‘show a complete lack of understanding of airport operations and disregard for those living closest to the airport’.

He continued: ‘I have met with Mr Arora several times to see how we can work together to deliver the integrated hub airport capacity that Britain needs. Each time he has refused to engage with us.’

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