Heathrow rejects both “Heathwick” and any idea of a dual hub with Stansted

On 21st October, Philip Hammond (now Defence Secretary, but who was Transport Secretary) said a Thames estuary airport would be very expensive and require closing Heathrow, which he believes would “destroy” the economies of West London, the Thames Valley, and the Surrey-Sussex corridor and be a complete disaster. He also said “I have long thought the answer is one hub across two sites, with a fast shuttle service between Heathrow and Gatwick.”  Now José Leo, BAA’s [now renamed Heathrow Ltd] company’s chief financial officer says “Heathwick” would mean Heathrow would lose a “critical element of competition” if passengers had to spend time on trains between airports. So neither Heathrow nor Gatwick want Heathwick. On the suggested rail link between Heathrow and Stansted, Mr Leo said that had a dual hub system between Heathrow and Stansted been viable, BAA,would already have pursued that option, but it would not be of use to Heathrow. 


Heathrow rejects Gatwick rail link plan

Heathrow, the airports group rebranded from BAA, has dismissed proposals for a “dual hub” system in London that would see passengers transferred to smaller rivals such as Stansted or Gatwick.

By  (Telegraph)

29 Oct 2012

Support for a dual hub has grown in recent weeks with one Cabinet minister, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, a former Transport Minister, speaking out in favour of a “Heath-wick” solution to London’s airport capacity problems, linking Heathrow to Gatwick via high-speed rail. Architectural group Make is also working on plans to connect Heathrow with Stansted via the Crossrail project.

But José Leo, the company’s [BAA] chief financial officer, said the airport would lose a “critical element of competition” if passengers had to spend time on trains between airports.

“My view is one of the key objectives of the hub is to be able to provide fast transfer processes for passengers and bags,” Mr Leo said.

Had a dual hub system between Heathrow and Stansted been viable, BAA, which changed its name earlier this month, would already have pursued that option, given that it owns both airports, Mr Leo argued. “There’s plenty of capacity left at Stansted… that is of no use to Heathrow,” he said.

Heathrow Ltd, whose other airports include Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton, is in the process of selling Stansted after losing a three-year battle with competition authorities.

Despite the summer slowdown, traffic at Heathrow in the first nine months of the year has grown 0.6pc to 53m, although this was offset by a 4.6pc decline at Stansted.

The group’s pre-tax profits jumped to £111.8m in the nine months to September 30 from a £147.3m loss last year, helped by the latest valuation of its index-linked swaps portfolio.







Philip Hammond flies into airports row with ‘Heathwick’ plan

Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, has thrown his weight behind plans for a new “Heath-wick” airport hub, featuring a new high-speed rail-link between Heathrow and Gatwick airport.

Philip Hammond on the future of the TA: 'I don't want people playing at being soldiers'

Philip Hammond attacked plans for a new airport in the Thames estuary Photo: ANDREW CROWLEY
By , Deputy Political Editor (Telegraph)

21 Oct 2012

With pressure growing on Ministers to address the “capacity crunch” in Britain’s skies, Mr Hammond said merely expanding Heathrow was a “sticking plaster” solution.

The minister, whose constituency is close to the West London airport, warned that there would be strong opposition to building a third runway at Heathrow and that doing so would require current flight paths across south east England to be redrawn.

“People who live in the south east and have no disturbance at the moment may find they are affected if a third runway is built,” said Mr Hammond, who served as the Coalition’s Transport Secretary until a year ago.

The Defence Secretary also attacked plans for a new airport in the Thames estuary, a project widely known as “Boris Island” because one of its most vocal champions is the London Mayor, Boris Johnson.

Mr Hammond warned that such a project would be very expensive and require closing Heathrow, which he believes would “destroy” the economies of West London, the Thames Valley, and the Surrey-Sussex corridor. “That would be a complete disaster,” he said.

Experts believe it would cost in the region of £5billion to link the two airports, with a high-speed train that could take about 15 minutes.

Mr Hammond thinks that the distance between the sites could be cut to as little as 10 minutes by the most advanced high-speed trains.

The Department for Transport has previously looked at a shuttle service between Heathrow and Gatwick that would initially run parallel with the M25, before disappearing into tunnels en route to Gatwick.

Mr Hammond’s intervention comes just days after London’s mayorthreatened to launch legal action against the Government in a bid to speed up airport expansion.

Over the summer David Cameron appointed Sir Howard Davies, the economist, to lead a commission into whether Britain should increase the capacity of its airports. However, the economist is not due to publish his final report until 2015.

Many businesses are pleading for the Prime Minister to make a decision now to make it easier for British firms to gain better access to China and other fast-growing economies.

Although many experts say there is more space to expand Gatwick, there is a legal lock on increasing the size of this airport until 2019.






Doubts over Heathrow-Stansted ‘dual hub’ proposals

A firm of architects, is developing proposals whereby Stansted airport could be linked to Heathrow by high speed rail

Heathrow airport has warned that proposals to create a “dual hub” by twinning it with London Stansted will struggle to succeed.

A firm of architects has suggested that Britain’s largest airport and its sister airport in Essex could be connected by the £15bn Crossrail route that links Heathrow to the eastern fringes of the capital and is due to open at the end of the decade.

The idea by the Make firm envisages Stansted becoming a four-runway airport, while a new rail spur would link the expanded site to Crossrail.

However, José Leo, Heathrow’s chief financial officer, said the idea is a commercial risk because it would take too long to transfer passengers between airports to connecting flights. “I don’t feel particularly convinced about the possibility of operating a dual hub. The key driver for a hub is its ability to provide a very quick connection for transfer passengers. If you introduce a 30-35 minute journey into the process, that will make the challenge even more difficult to handle.”

Sir Howard Davies, former director of the London School of Economics, is leading an independent commission that will examine ways to expand the UK’s airport capacity.