“No third runway and an end to night quota flights” are the key promises of Heathrow Hub’s revised submission to the Davies Commission.
The pledge for no third runway is because their plan involves extending the northern runway by 3km to grow capacity at the airport. This extra capacity could be used to remove the need for flights arriving after 4.30am and before 6am. As a consequence of extending the runway rather than building a new offset one, less homes than Heathrow’s plans would need to be CPO’d.
Another key feature of the plan involves a new rail interchange to the north of the airport which, say Heathrow Hub, would connect Heathrow to the national rail network via 30 trains an hour, and more than double the proportion of passengers arriving at Heathrow via train from 19% currently to 42%.
Their economic promises are less than Heathrow’s own plans, which promise £100bn of GVA, and 120,000 new jobs. Heathrow Hub say their plan would produce up to £45bn of economic benefits for the UK and 19,000 jobs.
Like Heathrow, they have promised not to close the M25 during construction – a criticism levelled at both plans by the Mayor of London. They would divert it around the new runway site, and switch traffic overnight.
The Heathrow Hub concept envisages extending the existing northern runway to create two separate sections; one for taking off and one for landing. The plan seeks to expand theoretical capacity by approximately 220,000 flights per year.
In addition, the scheme proposes a substantial new passenger facility to the north of the airport, which would connect Heathrow to Crossrail and the Great Western Line as well as providing a second access point for road travellers arriving from outside London. A dedicated APM (automated people mover) would move customers to the airport terminals in around 5 minutes.
Heathrow Hub say their consultations show the key issues for airport expansion in the South East are noise, surface access, cost and location. They say their proposal confronts these directly and is “both pragmatic and achievable”.
On noise, the position of the extended runway allows planes to fly higher over London, as does Heathrow’s north west runway plan. They also propose a series of airspace management improvements – as described by Captain Jock Lowe at Place West London’s event – allowing greater noise dispersal and therefore more respite for those on the flightpath. If these prove to be useful, then obviously they can be implemented whether or not Heathrow expands.
Assuming approval is recommended in 2015 they believe the new runway extension could be completed by 2023 – two years earlier than Heathrow think their plan could be delivered.
They say that further capacity – or resilience – could be generated subsequently by extending the southern runway, which would also deliver further noise mitigation options.
Jock Lowe, the longest serving Concorde pilot and one of the promoters behind the Heathrow hub concept, said: Our proposal … provides an innovative yet simple solution to the question that has vexed policy makers in recent years. It is clear that s economic crown and it should expand both for the South East and for those seeking regional connections to international destinations, and it is evident that it is the location of choice for travellers and airlines alike.
Our proposal is the most efficient, cost effective and politically realistic of the three proposals shortlisted by the Airports Commission. We offer the best solution to local communities concerned about noise or compulsory purchase of homes; and via our new railway and passenger hub can at last connect Heathrow to the national rail network and better accommodate the arrival of new passengers.
“By any measure, Heathrow is a world class asset. Heathrow’s continued success is crucial to London, the south-east and the UK as a whole.”