Speculation on whether Heathrow Hub will be able to sell its ideas to Heathrow Airport for a huge sum
Sky News reports that the Board of Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) has been in discussions recently about buying the intellectual property rights held by the company putting forward the “Heathrow Hub” runway proposal. While Heathrow airport wants to build a north west runway, the Heathrow Hub idea is to extend the northern runway to the west, making it double length. The company behind the Heathrow Hub idea is “Runway Innovations”and in the past Heathrow has been moderately dismissive of their proposals. However, it is understood that though Heathrow’s Board would not yet pursue a deal with Runway Innovations, it could reconsider its position if the Airports Commission recommended Heathrow Hub’s proposal – rather than their own. A source believed Runway Innovations had been seeking at least £50m, though the figure may be lower. It was unclear if this included land options that could be developed to provide new rail facilities if the Heathrow Hub option is selected. The company’s land options are north west of Heathrow, where a rail intersection forms part of the Hub’s plan. Work on the Heathrow Hub proposal has been funded by 4 rich individuals with links to London’s financial sector. It has always been their plan to sell the intellectual property of their plans, for a substantial sum.
Heathrow Snubs Runway Rival’s Approach Path
The board of Britain’s biggest airport has been holding secret talks about a multimillion pound swoop to acquire a rival runway expansion concept at Heathrow.
Sky News has learnt that directors of Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) discussed in recent days a suggestion that it should acquire the intellectual property rights held by Runway Innovations, an independent group which wants to extend – and then divide in two – the airport’s existing northern runway.
People close to the discussions said that HAH decided at a board meeting last week that it would not pursue a deal at this time with Runway Innovations, which is also known as Heathrow Hub and which is fronted by Jock Lowe, a former British Airways Concorde pilot.
HAH responded to the Runway Innovations proposal in a letter sent on Friday, a source added, which said that it believed the best option for expanding Heathrow remained its own plan for a new, and entirely separate, third runway.
One source close to the situation said that Runway Innovations had been seeking at least £50m from HAH to buy it out, although it was unclear whether this included land options that could be developed to provide new rail facilities if the Heathrow Hub option is selected.
A person close to HAH, which counts some of the world’s wealthiest sovereign funds among its shareholders, said the price of acquiring the rights to Runway Innovations’ plans was substantially lower than £50m.
They added, however, that it could reconsider its opposition to buying its rival’s idea if the Airports Commission decides to recommend Heathrow Hub as its preferred mode of growing London’s creaking airport capacity.
Directors of HAH are said to believe that the noise respite afforded to local residents would be diminished under its rival’s plan, something Runway Innovations is understood to dispute.
A spokesman for Runway Innovations told Sky News: “We will continue to maintain a close and cordial relationship with Heathrow as we share a belief that it is the right place for airport expansion in the UK and superior to Gatwick in all respects.”
A spokesman for HAH declined to comment on its talks with Runway Innovations.
More about the Heathrow Hub proposal at http://www.heathrowhub.com/
John Holland-Kaye told the Mail he was” ‘relaxed’ about which option is eventually chosen, but added: ‘If the Government says it will be the Heathrow Hub, we’d be happy. But if it is between Gatwick and Heathrow, then the answer has to be Heathrow.’” Link
Heathrow Hub vies with established players in Britain’s airport debate
(Reuters) – A former Concorde pilot is at the centre of Britain’s long-running debate over airport expansion, with an idea he first had in 1988 that he believes offers a way out of a political quagmire.
Heathrow Hub is based on William “Jock” Lowe’s idea to extend the runways at London’s Heathrow airport, the world’s third busiest by passenger numbers, thereby adding capacity for more planes without building a new runway, an issue which has proved controversial in the past.
Lowe is one of an office-less team of four who spent 20,000 pounds to patent the Heathrow runway extension idea, then spent countless hours developing it into a full-blown submission that is now one of three options shortlisted for airport expansion.
The Heathrow Hub proposal, which is not backed by Heathrow Airport proper, comes in at 12 billion pounds ($20 billion), 5 billion pounds cheaper than the Heathrow alternative. It could be built two years earlier, by 2023, and its backers say it will avoid affecting any new areas with noise.
What’s not to like? Should it be selected, Heathrow Hub would be the first airport in the world to have an extra long runway where planes take off on one half and land on the other, prompting safety concerns.
Lowe said the worries were unfounded. The proposal has been backed up by safety reports and Heathrow Hub would not be too different from how Madrid’s airport operates. There, planes take off and land on runways with little separation at an angle.
What made 70-year old Lowe given up his retirement?
“I got annoyed and frustrated at the rubbish that was being talked about,” he said in an interview on Thursday.
His top complaint was that the plans being mooted for new airport capacity were not in his opinion politically deliverable.
London Mayor Boris Johnson proposes building a new airport east of the city on the Isle of Grain, at a cost of up to 112 billion pounds. The government-appointed commission will decide whether to shortlist it by the end of 2014.
Lowe believes the much-publicised idea of an alternative to Heathrow has begun to work in the airport’s favour, with a shift in local opinion underway.
“He’s (Johnson) actually woken up the local authorities and the people around Heathrow to the fact that it might close,” he said. “Their stance was no expansion, but the alternative is no airport there.”
Work on the Heathrow Hub proposal has been funded by four rich individuals with links to London’s financial sector, including former JP Morgan banker Ian Hannam, who on Wednesday lost an appeal against a fine for market abuse.
The potential 12 billion-pound Heathrow Hub project could be primarily funded by private investors, not the state, the team and their backers believe. They could be in for a windfall of their own if their scheme is recommended by the commission.
“We’re the proposer, not the developer,” Lowe said. If they win, they’d sell the intellectual property rights to Heathrow Airport, he said.
“None of us went into this to make huge, huge sums. There would be, I’m sure, the basis for a very reasonable and friendly discussion with Heathrow Airport.”
Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited is co-owned by Spanish infrastructure firm Ferrovial, its largest shareholder with a 25 percent share. Partners include Qatar Holding, ChinaInvestment Corp. and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Larry King)