A plan to extend Heathrow’s runways to allow for a doubling of capacity at the hub to 140 million passengers a year emerged today.
The £7.5 billion scheme would accommodate aircraft landing and taking off at the same time, increasing the number of flights from 480,000 per year to almost one million.
Former Concorde pilot William ‘Jock’ Lowe claimed his proposal was the cheapest option to solve the airport capacity squeeze in the southeast.
He proposes extending Heathrow’s existing northern and southern runways, from 3,900 and 3,700 metres to 7,500 metres, moving part of the M25 in the process, the Financial Times reported.
This compares to the £10 billion proposal by economist Tim Leunig to turn Heathrow into a four-runway airport
Lowe is working with Mark Bostock, a former director at the engineers Arup, who has developed a plan for a new railway station at Heathrow that could also serve as an airport terminal.
The airport would initially connect to Crossrail and the Great Western rail line before being linked to the High Speed 2 track to the north of England and the high speed link to the Continent.
Lowe, a former British Airways chief pilot, estimates a limited extension of the airport’s northern runway – supporting additional flights – could be completed within three years of a ministerial decision to approve such a move.
The full plan, involving two runways each measuring 7,500 metres, could be completed within a decade and address Heathrow’s relatively poor rail links by including a new station.
Lowe told the newspaper that aircraft noise could be reduced by flying aircraft higher over London, bringing them into Heathrow on steeper descents and flying in over less populated areas.
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