Heathrow and Gatwick unveil revised expansion plans

Heathrow sign Heathrow is one of the world's busiest airports

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Heathrow and Gatwick airports have both unveiled revised expansion plans in an attempt to secure permission to build the UK's next runway.

Heathrow has proposed improved compensation worth £550m for those affected by its plans for a third runway.

Gatwick has said its plans will keep fares low and create 120,000 jobs.

Both have submitted their plans to the Airports Commission, charged with deciding how to expand UK air capacity.

Computer generated image Heathrow Airport is proposing a new third runway

The government-appointed body will choose between a second runway for Gatwick and either a third runway for Heathrow, or extending the northern runway to the west.

However, it will not make its recommendation until 2015 after the general election.

'Fair' treatment

Heathrow has promised that the owners of 750 homes, which would need to be demolished to make room for a third runway, would be offered 25% above the market value of their properties.

Other residents would receive improved noise insulation, it said in its report for the Airports Commission.

"We are committed to treating those most affected by a third runway fairly. Since the previous runway plan was rejected in 2010 we have listened to ideas for how we could improve our proposals," said Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews.

The revised report also suggests a congestion charge for those dropping off passengers at the airport by car.

The airport plans to consult local people on its revised proposals this summer.

Map: Gatwick options Gatwick identified three options for a second runway, but the Davies Commission shortlisted Option 3, which would allow fully independent operation.
Gatwick case

In its report, Gatwick argued that its expansion plans would cost £7.8bn and were cheaper and more beneficial than Heathrow's.

It said 10 million more passengers each year would be able to travel with a second runway at Gatwick than with a third runway at Heathrow

The airport also calculated that a new runway at Gatwick could be delivered about five years earlier than a third runway at Heathrow.

It added that its location, south of London, meant that just 14,000 people would be affected by noise, compared with the 240,000 people affected at Heathrow.

The chief executives of London's two largest airports put the case why their site should be expanded

"Why would you choose to fly a quarter of a million more planes every year over one of the world's most densely populated cities when instead you can fly them mostly over fields?," said Gatwick's chief executive Stewart Wingate.

Heathrow Hub

Heathrow Hub, the group proposing an extension of Heathrow's existing runways to add capacity, also submitted a revised proposal to the Airports Commission.

It argued its plans would mean a potential end to night quota flights and would create up to £45bn of economic benefits for the UK and 19,000 jobs.

Jock Lowe, one of the promoters behind the Heathrow hub concept, said: "Our proposal is the most efficient, cost effective and politically realistic of the three proposals shortlisted by the Airports Commission."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 399.

    Peoples journeys do not end at the airport, there is the cost and conveience of onward journey, for me Heathrow was very convenient for onward transport, I now have to fly to Gatwick which is not convenient for me and costly onward costs. Boris Island is a no go for me. and Cameron cannot make a decision until after the Election If he gets in, and it will then take many more years. Wake up Britain

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    I travel by air a lot and he one thing you do no want is to change airports to connect to another flight. If using London means travelers will need to spend hours changing between airports passengers will go elsewhere and we will have an expensive white elephant on our hands. High airport taxes already mean it already can be cheaper to fly from an airport in Europe!

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    395. AstroMan
    I still can't understand why we don't build it along the M4 corridor. Easy links to the A34 (South and North), the South West, Wales, London, Birmingham etc.
    Google maps 'RAF Lyneham' (the one next to Wootton Basset if you can't place it) 2kms from the M4, closed 2012, 1 nice long runway ready built doing but slowly rot. Loads of space for a 2nd one nearby

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    389. UtterTosh

    You really are trying your hardest to miss the point. It is not about regional airports and domestic users. Its about International fliers who use Heathrow as a hub. Do you know what a hub is?
    This is not a debate about North South infrastructure. It is about an area best suited for aircraft hub.

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.

    I still can't understand why we don't build it along the M4 corridor. Easy links to the A34 (South and North), the South West, Wales, London, Birmingham etc.

    It would distribute jobs around the country rather than the unhealthy balance towards london causing overcrowding and unaffordable housing for the younger generations.

    Just like HS2, this will drain jobs from good cities in favour of London

  • rate this

    Comment number 394.

    I use Heathrow more than any other airport and am broadly supportive of the hub idea, but I use the M25 pretty much every day. No-one other than Boris seems to have pointed out the massive elephant in the room with Heathrow's bid - the M25 and M4 would need re-routing which would be enormously expensive and disruptive. That said, I'm not that makes Gatwick the answer...

  • rate this

    Comment number 393.

    I used to travel from Heathrow on average twice per month.
    I found the cost of parking outrageous and the time to get from car to gate increasing so I made every effort to fly from Luton or Birmingham.
    Imagine the taxi time to a 3rd runway at LHR - it will be equivalent to the flight time to Paris. Gatwick is my preferred choice these days but the overcrowded motorways are a nightmare.

  • rate this

    Comment number 392.

    Why is everything in this country left to governments to decide the fate of? Can't people with specific interests in a particular idea be it a new runway or new rail system be involved solely so they can make the most informed decision on the basis of need rather than greed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 391.

    As someone who lives between the two airports and uses them, anything that reduces the amount of time spent stacking in the air burning fuel and making noise or waiting to take off and arriving late for meetings is to be welcomed. The London airports have ben under capacity for years. The coalition reversing Labour's plan was an incredible attack on British success by this lamentable coalition.

  • rate this

    Comment number 390.

    17. Mister Point
    "I fly a lot for work. It's quicker to fly into Europe then connect than it is to get to Heathrow. Give the regions more capacity. ...

    And what about East Midlands? It's got reasonable links to it, and there is plenty of room around it to expand it."

    And HS2 (whatever you think of it) actually goes under East Midlands Airport, but the station will be at ... Toton!

  • rate this

    Comment number 389.

    379. Lappy
    Ask an International Traveller and the vast majority do not wish to go anywhere other than Heathrow !

    Worst excuse ever.

    We already have the 3rd busiest airport on earth anyway (Heathrow) and Gatwick is top 40 too

    ..and every year hundreds of millions travel to all manner of airports and MOST will steer clear of the major ones if they can, to get away from pointless crowds

  • rate this

    Comment number 388.

    To those that say planes in holding patterns aren't green, so we should increase capacity; you're attacking a straw man. Those of us who aren't in a hurry to bring on environmental catastrophe wish taxes to be used to curb demand to the point where the existing infrastructure can cope with the air traffic without congesting the airspace near the major airports.

  • rate this

    Comment number 387.

    I wonder what the air traffic controllers think about a significant increase in traffic within our airspace.
    That USA system crashed recently just because the computer controlling aircraft movements got into a tiz because of one extra aircraft. Can the computers and the humans operating the system cope with the additional workload?
    A question every bit as important as this new runway question.

  • rate this

    Comment number 386.

    ENOUGH! HS2 and now more runways at Heathrow and Gatwick. The south east has it all already. Now is the time to start to invest in places like Cornwall where I live. All we hear is London, London, London.

  • rate this

    Comment number 385.

    17 Mister Point

    If there is unused capacity in Manchester airport why is it unused?

    Could it be that the demand is simply not there for it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 384.


    Hover over London to see how many aircraft are up there. It is a miracle they don't crash!

  • rate this

    Comment number 383.

    No to Gatwick, its just too far out for everyone other than those living in the South East. I few out of Gatwick at Christmas to Florida and it was an awful experience with the issues with the trains. Heathrow is so much easier to get to. Terminal 5 is a joy to use!

  • Comment number 382.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 381.

    379. Lappy
    Agree with all you say, but it's also politicians that set the ridiculously high Air Passenger Duty. I would add Frankfurt and Istanbul to your list of airports that are set to overtake Heathrow (if they haven't already).

  • rate this

    Comment number 380.

    Build outside London and costs drop rapidly.
    Heck you could probably build a new runway at 2 regional airports for the price of one at either Heathrow or Gatwick, which would benefit Britain immeasurably more than yet more investment in London, especially in job numbers.


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