“Heathrow Hub” submitting their 3rd runway plans to Airports Commission

On the same day as Heathrow airport published their promotion document for the public on their 3rd runway plan, “Heathrow Hub” have also put out a press release about their scheme, which they will also submit to the Airports Commission this week. The idea is to build another runway, at the western end of the existing north runway. Heathrow airport itself is not keen on this option, partly as a runway exactly in line with another is not a layout used at any other airport, and partly as it gives no chance for half a day of noise respite for those overflown. Heathrow knows the respite periods are of huge value to those suffering from aircraft noise. However, Heathrow Hub say their plan could expand Heathrow’s theoretical capacity by approximately 220,000 flights per year, and it would create approximately 19,000 jobs ( Heathrow says theirs would create 100,000 jobs !) They say their scheme has the benefit of few homes being destroyed, and planes landing 2 miles further west being a little higher (so slightly less noisy) on approach over London.



Heathrow hub north runway

No third runway and an end to night quota flights

13th May 2014   (“Heathrow Hub” press release)

– No “third runway” to the north of Heathrow, instead extend existing runway to add capacity
– A potential end to night quota flights as part of world class noise mitigation strategy
– Major new passenger facility connecting Heathrow to national rail network via 30 trains an hour
– Up to £45bn of economic benefits for the UK and 19,000 jobs
– No closure of the M25 and a new junction to disperse traffic impact

Heathrow Hub has finalised a second, detailed submission to the Airports Commission.

The Heathrow Hub concept already shortlisted in December 2013 envisages extending the existing northern runway to create two separate sections; one for taking off and one for landing. In addition, the scheme proposes a substantial new passenger facility to the north of the airport, which would connect Heathrow to Crossrail and the Great Western Line as well as providing a second access point for road travellers arriving from outside London.

A dedicated APM (automated people mover) would move customers to the airport terminals in around 5 minutes.

Following extensive consultations, it is clear that the key issues for airport expansion in the South East are noise, surface access, cost and location. The Heathrow Hub proposal confronts these directly and has allied innovation and technology, with common sense and simplicity, to produce a superior proposal which is both pragmatic and achievable.

Heathrow is one of Britain’s world class assets. The combination of pent up demand, the airport’s large regulated asset base and the fact that Heathrow Hub’s proposal is expected to be the cheapest on offer, mean that expansion could be readily financed by the private sector.

Our plan seeks to expand theoretical capacity by approximately 220,000 flights per year, increasing the routes available for travellers, improving choice and competition and ending the current stalemate over Heathrow Airport’s third runway.

Assuming approval is recommended in 2015 we believe the new runway extension could be completed by 2023. Our initial modelling suggests our proposal could deliver up to £45 billion of economic benefits, with up to £10 billion resulting from the new passenger facility. We also believe our plans would create approximately 19,000 jobs and safeguard the future of Heathrow [which really is not in  doubt].

Our proposal is future proofed by offering an option to extend the southern runway, delivering possible further resilience and noise mitigation options for Heathrow. [They do not appear to realise that a 4th runway cannot be fitted with the carbon target for aviation, within the U K ‘s 2050 carbon target. As determined by the governments advisers, the CCC – Committee on Climate Change].



Noise mitigation and communities

Heathrow Hub is developing a world-class noise mitigation strategy for Heathrow. This includes

– Potentially curtailing or ending night quota flights arriving after 4.30am and before 6am by making available more capacity later in the morning

– Or moving the touchdown point 2 miles to the West on the new runway extension in the critical early morning arrival period, thereby removing large areas of West London from the noise footprint

– An enhanced respite mitigation strategy, harnessing existing technology to create targeted and varied approaches and alternation in order to further disperse noise.

– No new households would be brought into the noise footprint under the Heathrow Hub proposal, a significant benefit to the hundreds of thousands of people in West London areas including Hammersmith, Chiswick, Brentford and Ealing.

– A much lower number of local homeowners affected compared to Heathrow Airport Limited’s proposal. Our current estimate is that some 250 dwellings would have to be compulsorily purchased, a fraction of those in Heathrow Airport’s proposal.

Surface access

Heathrow Hub has developed powerful surface access solution for Heathrow Airport, including:

– The connection of Heathrow to the national rail network through the construction of large new passenger facility on land identified to the north. This would more than double the proportion of passengers arriving at Heathrow via train from 19% currently to 42%

– 30 trains per hour based on Great Western and related services, enabling swift direct connections with regional centres; additional rail access to the south

– Remodelling the road network around Heathrow – partial tunnelling and bridging a stretch of the M25

– Enhanced junction 13 and a new junction to the new passenger interchange, dispersing traffic impact

– No closure of the M25, as incorrectly claimed by some. The M25 road works would not affect existing traffic, which would be switched to the new section overnight.

– Car parking, bus, coach and hotel facilities at the new passenger facility


Jock Lowe, the longest serving Concorde pilot and one of the promoters behind the Heathrow hub concept, said:

“Our proposal gets more compelling with every stage of the Airports Commission process and provides an innovative yet simple solution to the question that has vexed policy makers in recent years. It is clear that Heathrow is a jewel in Britain’s economic crown and it should expand both for the South East and for those seeking regional connections to international destinations, and it is evident that it is the location of choice for travellers and airlines alike.

“Our proposal is the most efficient, cost effective and politically realistic of the three proposals shortlisted by the Airports Commission. We offer the best solution to local communities concerned about noise or compulsory purchase of homes; and via our new railway and passenger hub can at last connect Heathrow to the national rail network and better accommodate the arrival of new passengers.

“By any measure, Heathrow is a world class asset. It is the airport of choice for both passengers and airlines. Connectivity and flight schedule frequency are unrivalled in the UK or Europe and Heathrow has not only retained high quality airlines but attracted new ones. Heathrow’s continued success is crucial to London, the south-east and the UK as a whole: it is the natural location for a new capacity

“Heathrow Hub is independent and because of that we are able to apply some creative thinking to solving this important infrastructure issue for the whole country.”

Note to editors
A map is available on the Heathrow Hub website, www.heathrowhub.com. The executive summary will also be posted after it has been formally submitted to the Airports Commission on May 14th 2014.