Heathrow has told the Airports Commission that there is no quick or easy solution to ease the UK’s lack of hub airport capacity, and in particular, that mixed-mode is not desirable. However, they have put together a set of proposals to imprvove efficiency and resilience, while reducing noise.
In their short & medium term submission to the Davies Review, the airport has said physical and planning constraints mean short-term solutions to increase flights and generate growth and jobs are limited.
Heathrow is not proposing the use of mixed-mode as a short-term measure to increase capacity. They believe that the incremental capacity delivered by mixed mode comes at a significant cost to the local community because it would end periods of respite from noise. They say mixed-mode would be different from an additional runway as that option would deliver sufficient capacity for the foreseeable future while still providing periods of noise respite for residents.
Heathrow has proposed a package of other measures that the Commission could support to improve Heathrow’s reliability and punctuality for passengers whilst reducing noise impacts for local communities.
In its submission Heathrow says the “only realistic solution” to the UK’s shortage of hub capacity involves building a third runway at Heathrow.
It argues that there is no quick fix to capacity problems and any marginal capacity improvements should be used to improve resilience rather than add more flights. Because Heathrow is full – operating at 98% capacity – adverse weather typically causes more disruption than at other airports. The airport recommends that any short-term improvements in capacity should be used to improve reliability and punctuality for passengers rather than add more flights.
They also want to see the CAA’s latest pricing cap proposals rolled back. These, they say make investing in Heathrow as is unattractive.
They also propose a package of measures including redesigning airspace and changing operating procedures to deliver a more efficient, resilient and quieter airport.
Heathrow’s Chief Executive, Colin Matthews, said: “The Airports Commission has a challenging task in its bid to find short term solutions to long term problems. The only real solution to a lack of runway capacity at our hub airport is to build another runway.
“We are not proposing the use of mixed mode as a short-term measure because of the impact on local communities of ending periods of respite from noise. We are listening to local residents’ concerns and we are working hard to develop new long-term solutions that can deliver additional flights whilst also reducing noise.”
None of their proposals would result in an increase in flights above the current 480,000 per annum cap, they say.