Surinder Arora, a business magnate who owns 16 hotels, a golf course and his own private airfield, is the largest single landowner on the site marked for expansion.
He has released a plan alongside US engineering firm Bechtel in August in which he claimed the third runway project could be delivered for £12.4bn – roughly £5bn cheaper than Heathrow’s initial estimate. Heathrow has since altered its plans to bring down construction costs but may also try to work with Mr Arora’s company in some way.
“It would not surprise us if we do something with him as we expand the airport,” Mr Holland Kaye said. “He is an important local stakeholder and it would amaze me if we don’t do something together.”
Heathrow and the Arora Group are currently working on two hotels at the site but Mr Holland Kaye said he “really could not speculate” about what further collaboration might involve.
The comments come shortly after the Department for Transport issued a revised draft Airports National Policy Statement, a document which forms part of the process of airport expansion and which will be scrutinised by the Transport select committee in the House of Commons this week.
The document welcomed competing bids for the work and stated the Government did not have a preference for who constructed the third runway as long as it met the specifications outlined by the Airports Commission.
Mr Holland Kaye said, however, it was important for one organisation to run the airport and claimed this model had helped Heathrow improve punctuality and customer satisfaction in recent years.
The plans to add a runway at Heathrow have been criticised by one of the rival proposals, Heathrow Hub, which claims they will not be able to deliver the promised annual 740,000 flights.
Heathrow Hub said rather than building an entirely new runway, the northern one should be extended and used simultaneously for take-offs and landings, a solution it said could be delivered for less than £10bn.
The group commissioned engineering consultancy Ebeni to examine the current plan. Ebeni said a taxiway needed to link the new northern runway would reduce the amount of flights, because tail fins of large aircraft such as Airbus A380s and Boeing 747s using the taxiway would get in the way of aircraft taking off, creating a possible safety risk.
Ebeni said having to wait for these aircraft to clear the space required for take-off would create delays and reduce capacity from the stated 740,000 flights a year under the current plans to fewer than 700,000.
Rival Heathrow expansion consortium, Arora, upbeat as Government opens door to competition
The Telegraph reports that the government has said it welcomes competition in the construction of the nation’s airports. Hotel owner Surinder Arora had earlier this year proposed a cheaper way to build a Heathrow 3rd runway, cutting about £5 billion off the price. Government documents related to the expansion had previously assumed Heathrow would be in charge of the construction project and choose which contractors it wanted to help it fulfil the scheme. But the DfT says in the revised consultation on its Airports NPS (National Policy Statement) that it would welcome competing bids for the work. The NPS consultation says: “For the avoidance of doubt, the Airports NPS does not identify any statutory undertaker as the appropriate person or appropriate persons to carry out the preferred scheme.” And there could be “more than one application for development consent, dealing with different components individually”. The Telegraph believes a key difference, if a body other than Heathrow did the building, would be that the party behind the construction would receive the associated income it generates from passenger and airline charges, as well as retail rental payments. But there could be more risks, more costs etc.