Heathrow is expected to drop support for mixed-mode operations on its runways or increased night flights.
The stances on allowing aircraft to take off and land simultaneously on the airport’s two runways and on night flying are a calculated move by Heathrow to improve its chances of securing ministerial permission for a third and possibly a fourth runway at the airport, the Financial Times reported.
Heathrow Airport Holdings, Heathrow’s owner and operator, is expected to focus solely on obtaining permission for new runways, in the hope that it encounters less opposition.
While rejecting mixed mode and more night flying, Heathrow is expected to say it could modestly increase capacity as airlines fly bigger aircraft, such as the Airbus A380 superjumbo, into the airport.
Heathrow is preparing another submission for the independent Airports Commission on long-term measures to boost capacity.
The FT reported one person familiar with Heathrow’s plans as saying if it secured permission for a third runway, the airport was hoping to assert that the number of people affected by aircraft noise would fall compared with today. That is partly because technology advances mean aircraft are becoming quieter, and also because of the prospect of aircraft making steeper descents.
Heathrow told the newspaper: “All options for new capacity are worth the Airports Commission considering, although mixed mode is not being promoted by Heathrow.
“We are not proposing any increase in the number of night flights permitted at Heathrow. While night flights are valuable to the economy, they also disturb local residents.”
Heathrow has previously argued for mixed mode on a third runway and ran into strong opposition, primarily from residents living under the airport’s flightpaths who are fed up with aircraft noise.
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