Heathrow starting to wriggle out of expansion conditions

Heathrow CEO dismisses Airports Commission’s suggestion that it pays for road and rail upgrades, may oppose ban on night flights and ban on 4th runway.

The boss of Heathrow has dismissed the suggestion from Sir Howard Davies, the chairman of the Airports Commission, that the airport foots the £5 billion bill for road and rail work if a third runway is built.

A new runway in west London would require significant transport upgrades, including encompassing part of the M25 in a tunnel.

The M25 is a motorway that runs in a huge circle around Greater London and is probably the most important road in the United Kingdom.

The works will mean huge disruption for many years. Heathrow has not said how much money that will cost the UK economy.

PassengerSelfService reported in April 2015 that Heathrow had significantly underestimated the cost of a third runway. The airport has consistently refused to come clean on all costs involved for a third runway and which would be paid by Heathrow and which paid for by the UK public.

The so-called surface access costs are normally funded by the taxpayer, but the Airports Commission suggested there was scope for negotiation between the airport and the Government, and indicated that Heathrow and its investors could bear all of the costs.

This major point is another reason to reject this flawed report as it doesn’t clarify major costs like this.

The attitude of Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kay, supports the reasons to dismiss this report.

Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye:

“Those are things that the Government should be paying for anyway. That’s the way these things work, that government funds road and rail, aviation is funded privately, so that’s what we expect to happen here.”

He said this on Friday 24 July, speaking at the airport’s half-year results.

Surface access aside, the commission estimated that a third Heathrow runway would cost £17.6bn.

Experience of major works in the UK suggests that cost will at least double and some related costs will be buried elsewhere in other budgets.

The airport on Friday posted 5.9pc increase in first-half revenues to £1.3bn. Pre-tax profits for the six months to the end of June climbed to £120m from £23m a year earlier.

Night flight conditions for third runway

Heathrow is to press the government to loosen the conditions attached to a third runway going ahead, with the airport reluctant to accept a proposed ban on night flights or legislation against further expansion.

Holland-Kaye said banning early-morning arrivals would impact on lucrative business routes.

Flights currently start arriving at Heathrow at 0430.

UPDATE: Arrival at LHR before 0600 on 29 July (details from heathrowairport.com)

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