Heathrow considering a range of runway options including long & short 3rd runway, and 4 runway airport at Haddenham or White Waltham

“Aviation Week” has reported that Heathrow is considering at least 10 expansion options which are being whittled down. These “Heathrow 2025: Masterplan Options & Indicative Layouts” documents – seen by Aviation Week – were produced by the Mott MacDonald consultancy.  Four of the options are a short 3rd runway north of the airport, at Sipson – or a long 3rd runway there.  Another two options are for a 4 runway airport (each the same design) either at Haddenham or at White Waltham.  Haddenham is about 15 miles east of Oxford, and building a vast airport there, in countryside, would mean the virtual removal of two villages, Chearsley and Long Crendon.  White Waltham is a small general aviation airfield about 15 miles west of Heathrow and close to Maidenhead. The 4 runway airport design could potentially handle 140 million passengers and 800,000 air traffic movements a year, (compared to some 70 million passengers and around 480,000 movements now) –  so that is just under twice Heathrow’s capacity today.  The current designs are early drafts developed last year, and Heathrow will be “making its considered submission to the Airports Commission in July.”



Since then:

Heathrow confirms it is not seriously considering new 4 runway airport at Haddenham (or White Waltham)

May 21, 2013     In early May there was speculation that Heathrow was considering various options for its submission to the Airports Commission. One of these – that had been seen as outline proposals by Aviation Week – was for a 4 runway airport at Haddenham (which is east of Oxford). Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd has now confirmed that this option is no longer being considered. Local MPs and residents had been furious to learn of the plans. Colin Matthews, CEO of Heathrow, wrote to local MP John Howell and said “I can confirm that we will not be proposing plans for a new airport as part of our submission”. The MP said “this should come as welcome relief to Thame and to the surrounding villages as far south as Henley who would be affected by noise from take-offs and landings.”    Click here to view full story…




See illustrations below

Aviation Week comments:  A new facility to replace Heathrow is a highly unlikely scenario, so the focus is likely to be back on the current airport’s ability to retain its position as the U.K.’s main hub into the future.”

‘Create new super airport or double size of Heathrow’

3 May 2013  (Evening Standard)

A “superhub” airport with four runways could be built in the home counties or west London under plans drawn up for Heathrow bosses.

The blueprint includes options for a huge new airport close to Maidenhead or Oxford, or doubling the number of runways at Heathrow, to handle 140  million passengers a year.

It was seized on by aviation experts as giving the first detailed insight into Heathrow’s thinking about airport expansion in the South-East.

A document called “Heathrow 2025, Masterplan Options & Indicative Layouts”, obtained by Aviation Week industry information service, outlines 10 options.

They include plans for a four-runway airport at White Waltham in Berkshire, near Maidenhead and Bracknell, or at Haddenham in Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire, about 15 miles from Oxford.

Alternatively, there is a proposal for Heathrow to have one extra runway to the east and another to the west, or four runways slightly to the west of the airport which would involve tunnelling the M25, filling in a local reservoir and using the existing terminals.

The study was commissioned by Heathrow from consultancy Mott MacDonald and also includes four different proposals for a three-runway airport — three at the existing airport and one to the west, over the M25.

Plans are also outlined for take-offs and landings on both existing runways, rather than alternating their use.

John Stewart, chairman of anti-airport expansion campaign group Hacan, called the revelations “utterly dramatic. Nobody expected Heathrow would be looking so far afield. It must mean they don’t feel at all confident of being able to win the argument about expanding the existing airport.”

Heathrow stressed it had not yet backed any of the proposals in the report, believed to have been compiled six months ago. A spokesman said: “These are early drafts of concepts developed by consultants last year. They are not designs that have been endorsed by Heathrow airport. Heathrow will be making its considered submission to the Airports Commission in July.”

Heathrow is understood to be considering at least 12 expansion options which are being whittled down.

Another proposal floated, from a group led by Concorde’s longest-serving pilot, Captain Jock Lowe, has proposed extending the two existing Heathrow runways to create four.

Daniel Moylan, the Mayor of London’s adviser on aviation, argued that the Mott MacDonald study indicated Heathrow chiefs may be “coming round” to Boris Johnson’s view that Heathrow cannot expand on its current site.

He said: “The Mayor believes that the right location for a hub airport is on the eastern side of the capital, where the scope for regeneration is greater and where space is less constrained.”

Councillor David Lyons, leader of Aylesbury Vale Green Party, called the proposal for Haddenham “absolutely mad. It’s such a far-fetched scheme to destroy a beautiful area. There would be a mass campaign (against it).”

The villages of Chearsley and Long Crendon would have to be largely removed, Aviation Week suggested.

White Waltham councillor Carwyn Cox branded the idea of a major international airport there as an “impractical solution”, which would blight green belt land and affect communities in Maidenhead, Windsor, Slough, Reading, Marlow and Henley.





Heathrow Studies Options To Build Capacity

By Tony Osborne (Aviation Week)
Credit: Heathrow Airport Holdings
April 22, 2013

Looking down on Heathrow Airport from its 87-meter-high (285-ft.) air traffic control tower, the challenges that face the world’s busiest two-runway airport suddenly become very clear.

With an aircraft landing or taking off approximately every 2 min., runway and parking-stand capacity is at a premium, and the site offers little room for expansion. On every side, the airport is hemmed in by development, which has a dramatic effect on airport efficiency. A single day of inclement weather can bring about a domino effect on operations resulting in hundreds of canceled flights, leaving passengers stranded and the airport’s reputation in tatters. No wonder managers are considering moving operations to another site.

Heathrow Airport Holdings has been quietly exploring options for future airport configurations and two new locations never previously examined for the siting of a major new airport.

Aviation Week has seen the “Heathrow 2025: Masterplan Options & Indicative Layouts” documents produced by the Mott MacDonald consultancy that propose 10 options, ranging from a reconfiguration of the current airfield with two runways and new a terminal layout to an entirely new four-runway facility built on greenfield land at one of two locations in the nearby counties of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to supplement, or more likely replace Heathrow.

The two new sites suggested by the consultants would feature a four-runway layout, not unlike the configuration of Madrid’s Barajas Airport (see map). Two runways would be located on either side of a main terminal core, while the other two runways, parallel to the first two, would be slightly offset but more than 1 km (0.6 mi.) apart allowing parallel landing and takeoff operations. The newly built facilities could potentially handle 140 million passengers and 800,000 air traffic movements a year, just under twice Heathrow’s capacity today.

One site suggested is at White Waltham, a small general aviation airfield about 15 mi. west of Heathrow and close to the town of Maidenhead. The other is Haddenham, the location of a old World War II glider airfield about 15 mi. from the city of Oxford but more than 30 mi. from the center of London. Local parish councillors contacted by Aviation Week were taken aback by the suggestion that the countryside near their homes could be turned into a major international airport.

The Haddenham site would perhaps be the most controversial, as the layout suggests the virtual removal of two villages, Chearsley and Long Crendon. Both sites are in open countryside, however, and have the advantage of being close to major transport links.

White Waltham, would be built almost on top of the M4 motorway and is close to major rail links, while the Haddenham location is close to the M40 motorway and within a few miles of the government’s planned but controversial High Speed 2 (HS2) rail route to Birmingham, a move that would boost transport times into Central London.

Heathrow Airport officials tell Aviation Week the documents are early drafts developed by consultants last year. “They are not designs that have been endorsed by Heathrow Airport,” the officials say. “Heathrow will be making its considered submission to the Airports Commission in July.”

A new facility to replace Heathrow is a highly unlikely scenario, so the focus is likely to be back on the current airport’s ability to retain its position as the U.K.’s main hub into the future.

Politicians regularly highlight the failures of Heathrow and its ability to stay open in the face of snow or fog, but they are considerably more reticent about helping to fix it. The building of new runway capacity in the southeast of England is seen as a political “hot potato” and ministers have been reluctant to make a decision which could bring extra noise to hundreds of thousands of city dwellers.

And if a third Heathrow runway is unpopular, politicians are going to be even more reluctant to approve the building of a new airport, even if its creation could deliver a long-lasting economic legacy to the region.

Since the coalition government came to power in 2010 and withdrew support for another runway at Heathrow—reversing a 2009 decision made by the previous Labour administration—no fewer than seven new airport options have been suggested. Six of them would lie east of the city, using reclaimed land in the Thames Estuary. One of those, suggested by London Mayor Boris Johnson, was enthusiastically dubbed “Boris Island.”

But many believe an airport in the Thames Estuary is the wrong location for a London airport, since it would be difficult to reach for many people. Indeed, a key part of Heathrow’s success has been its location to the west of London, and its proximity to the M4 corridor, where some of the world’s largest multinational companies are headquartered.

The “Heathrow 2025 masterplan” document also highlights a range of options for change at Heathrow, including two configurations for a third runway to the north of the airport. One features a short runway, to be primarily used for short-haul and domestic flights, combined with a new terminal in between the new runway and the current northern runway. The other suggests a third longer runway and another set of satellite terminals in the northeast corner of the airport. (see illustration below).

Three options for four runways on the Heathrow site are also suggested. One proposes building a new fourth runway to the south of the current southern runway, construction of which would require demolition of the airport’s current cargo facilities.

Another alternative would see the runway moved toward the east, necessitating the demolition of both the freight areas and Terminal 4. And the third option, which has made it into the national press, would essentially rebuild Heathrow with four runways on land just west of the current airport, a move that could also reduce the number of people effected by noise, at least in London.

Heathrow air traffic has been affected by the economic downturn, dwindling since its peak in 2008, but it is forecast to rebound by 2018-19, and figures from the U.K. Transport Department indicate that all of the airports serving London will be full by 2030—and perhaps by 2025, if no new runways are built.

The Airports Commission, launched last November, is due this year to report assessments and recommendations to improve airport capacity in the next five years, but it will not announce longer-term recommendations, for the next 25-30 years, until the summer of 2015, after the next election.

Tap the icon in the digital edition of AW&ST to see proposed alternatives for a third runway at Heathrow, or go to http://www.aviationweek.com/Portals/aweek/media/ukrunways/ukrunways.html



The picture below, from Aviation Week, is of the proposal  for a design for a 4- runway airport at either Haddenham (east of Oxford) or at White Waltham (north east of Reading)Heathrow 4 runway plans for Haddenham and White Waltham




The picture below, from Aviation Week, is of the locations of a long, or a short, 3rd runway at Heathrow, to the north of the existing runways.

Heathrow short and long 3rd runways



Policy Exchange map of their plans for Heathrow …..

Compared to the existing situation (and proposed location of a 3rd runway). The existing runways are about a mile apart. The Policy Exchange seems to be putting the runways in each pair very close together.




Earlier stories about Heathrow runway options:

Retired pilot Jock Lowe devises £7.5bn plan to double length of Heathrow runways (and lose runway alternation)

March 13, 2013    A retired Concorde pilot called William “Jock” Lowe has been promoting his £7.5bn plan to extend both Heathrow runways from 3,900 and 3,700 metres, up to 7,500 metres – approximately doubling them. He has submitted his scheme to the Airports Commission (all expressions on intend on such projects had to be delivered to the Commission by 28th February). In the Lowe scheme (if it was to be allowed) the number of flights could be doubled, from the current cap of 480,000 per year up to about a million. This scheme is cheaper than the Leunig scheme, proposed in October, for 4 Heathrow runways, a bit further west. The rise in flight numbers could only be done by “mixed mode”, which means having planes both landing, and taking off, all day on both runways. So a plane would be landing on the eastern part of a runway, while another takes off on the west portion of it. This would mean London residents over flown would get twice as many flights as they do now, and they would lose their half a day of peace, which they get from the current runway alternation. It would be deeply and passionately opposed by thousands of Londoners.    Click here to view full story…



Independent on Sunday: Secret plan for 4-runway airport west of Heathrow

September, 2  2012    The Independent on Sunday reports that a British business consortium (that won’t declare publicly who it is) is proposing a scheme for a 4-runway to the “west and north-west “of London, and the plans are to be submitted to the Government as a solution to the alleged aviation crisis that is dividing the coalition. This new airport could – the firm claims – rival, or even replace, Heathrow to challenge other European hubs in providing air links with the Far East (links which Heathrow can and does provide). Sites in Oxfordshire and Berkshire could potentially be in the frame for the airport, estimated to cost £40bn to £60bn. The “call for evidence” on airport capacity is due shortly, and could start this week. This new idea of a new airport to the west with road and rail links to the capital would be seen as a “wild card” capable of challenging the Thames Estuary airport idea backed by Boris. The IoS says the documents state: “…delivery of any scheme must have cross-party backing and must be supported by business and the workforce.” The consortium of businesses behind the plan are expected to reveal themselves within weeks and is understood to have started talks with Chinese sovereign wealth funds.     Click here to view full story…




MP Kwasi Kwarteng’s Heathrow report suggests Stanwell runway – in his own constituency

July 12, 2012      The lives of thousands of residents’ would be blighted if the Spelthorne MP’s plan to demolish parts of Stanwell to build a 4th runway at Heathrow go ahead, say those living under the threat of airport expansion. The report, co-written by MP Kwasi Kwarteng, advocates two more runways for Heathrow Airport, one on the traditional site of Sipson, to the north, and the other in his own constituency to the south. This has led to opponents labelling the proposals “political suicide”. Geraldine Nicholson is chairman of the No Third Runway Action Group explained that residents in Spelthorne could expect blighted lives, broken down communities and death to the soul of their towns, if the plans were taken seriously. Like Sipson, which has suffered from years of blight, and dismantling of the community, from threats of a 3rd runway. It is astonishing for an MP to want to ruin a large part of his own constituency.    Click here to view full story…



Heathrow telling Davies Commission it only needs a 3rd, not a 4th, extra runway. But won’t pay noise compensation.

November 26, 2012    The Times reports that Heathrow will tell the Davies Commission that it can remain as the world’s premier international passenger hub by building a third, but does not need a fourth, runway. It is also saying that if it is allowed another runway, it will not pay for “noise compensation” for the extra numbers affected by aircraft noise. The Davies Commission has already raised this issue, as one that needs to be addressed if thousands more households are to be affected by noise. The Commission has said that it will look at noise compensation programmes at other airports. Heathrow says job creation and the boost for the neighbouring economy from expanded Heathrow is more important than direct noise compensation for Londoners. Heathrow continues to lobby to persuade opinion formers that Britain will lose tens of billions of pounds in trade if it does not have a massive hub, even larger than Heathrow now. With even more tens of millions of international passengers each year.     Click here to view full story…





Policy Exchange produces report hoping to shift Heathrow a few km to the west, with 4 runways over the M25 …

October 5, 2012

The Policy Exchange, which says it is a leading think tank to deliver a stronger society and a more dynamic economy (nothing about care of the environment) have put forward a proposal to expand Heathrow, by building 4 new runways. And moving the existing two a mile or two to the west, on top of the M25. Then there would be a two more runways, one parallel to each of the shifted runways. The Policy Exchange then says that if this cannot be built, 4 runways could be be built at Luton instead. They claim around 700 properties (in Poyle) would need to be demolished compared to the 1,400 that would need to go to make way for the estuary airport, and its purpose would be to send a “much needed signal to people that Britain is open for business.” They dismiss the problem of carbon emissions by presuming that all homes in the UK will be insulated, so leaving fossil fuel for transport – and that travelling is much more appealing so we can “have the money and carbon allocation to see the world.” A very odd report, with some very dubious logic …..   Click here to view full story…




New hub airport west of Heathrow “wins support of UK business” – Independent

September 9, 2012   Independent reports that British business is starting to get behind nebulous plans for a £60bn four-runway airport near Heathrow. It says a “world-leading infrastructure firm”, which has worked on aviation projects in Latin and North America, is assessing sites for the scheme to the west and north-west of the airport. Potentially backed by Chinese sovereign wealth fund money, a secretive consortium of UK businesses plans to throw their scheme into the mix as a potential long-term successor to Heathrow. Potential sites, which must be flat with few nearby residential areas, are thought to have been identified along the potential High Speed Two rail line, which would link London and Birmingham, and the Great Western main line, so the airport would be within 30 minutes of London.    Click here to view full story…




Free Enterprise Group of Tories now want not only a 3rd Heathrow runway, but a 4th too. By demolishing 4 villages.

July 8, 2012     This gets dottier by the day. The group of free enterprise advocate Tory MPs, called the Free Enterprise Group, is to publish a new report, which calls for …. wait for it …. not only a 3rd Heathrow runway, but also a 4th. Some members of the Free Enterprise Group are close to George Osborne, with Sajid Javid MP one of his ministerial aides. The Sunday Telegraph says the private sector has suggested that it would finance a third runway. The Free Enterprise Group’s paper suggests a 3rd runway could be built to the south and west of the airport on the town of Bedfont and Stanwell, a town with a population of 12,000. It is striking that many of the Tory MPs proposing this have constituencies near here. One of their members, Kwasi Kwarteng, MP for Spelthorne, was good enough to comment that “it was vital that residents were compensated for the loss of their homes” and “Even if you gave every resident £500,000 it would still be cheaper than Boris Island.” Meanwhile, Heathrow continues to use its valuable slots for flights to leisure destinations. Click here to view full story…


Just in case anyone has never looked at the geography around Heathrow, or has forgotten that it is a densely used and densely populated area, below is a map. There is nowhere to put a fourth runway, even if a third could be crammed in at Sipson.