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Press releases
Jul 19, 2016

Heathrow Hub extended runway can handle 750,000 ATMs per year, just as many as Heathrow Airport Ltd’s 3rd Runway proposal

The new research supporting the independent Heathrow Hub extended runway concept has been submitted to the Department for Transport for Chris Grayling, the new Secretary of State, to see. The Department is reviewing the extended runway scheme alongside two other proposals from Heathrow Airport Ltd and Gatwick and Mr Grayling has called for “a rapid decision”.

The new evidence is important because the Airports Commission wrongly assessed the northern runway as only handling 700,000 ATMs per year, 40,000 fewer than Heathrow Airport Ltd’s 3rd runway.The new research was conducted using advanced AirTOp Fast Time Simulation modelling, which simulated the arrivals, departures and ground movement of the airport running at a very busy daily theoretical rate in the future between 6am and 11pm.

Jock Lowe, director of Heathrow Hub, said: “This modelling should correct and lay to rest an error made by the Airports Commission, which did not run an iterative process and consequently made various mistakes. Our extended runway can safely handle the same capacity as Heathrow Airport Ltd’s 3rd runway.

“We hope Chris Grayling should now have the reassurance he needs to pick our proposal over Heathrow Airport Ltd’s 3rd Runway. Not only is our extended runway concept cheaper, simpler, and quieter than the expensive 3rd Runway, it offers the same capacity. Extending the runway at Heathrow is the right decision for the British economy now and we should just get on with it.”

Heathrow Hub’s view is that such a large amount of capacity – more than 50% above the 480,000 ATM rate at which the airport currently runs – is unlikely to be required in the foreseeable future as there is insufficient demand from airlines and passengers for daytime long haul flights.

A unique feature of the Heathrow Hub proposal is it can be phased and capacity released incrementally. Heathrow Hub believes that the Government should approve Phase 1 of our proposal which would add 70,000 ATMs at a cost of just £3.7bn, by extending the runway and using existing terminal capacity. Phased expansion is in the first instance cheaper; easier to finance; less risky; and it would enable regulators only to release additional ATMs if important noise and air quality limits are met by the airport.