M25 could de-rail Heathrow expansion plans

Bridging the M25 to build Heathrow"™s third runway could de-rail the airport"™s expansion plan due to the scheme"™s cost and complexity says International Airlines Group (IAG) which is raising its concerns with the Government.

In its submission to the Government"™s consultation on its Airports National Policy Statement, which closes tomorrow (May 25, 2017), IAG says there"™s no detailed risk and cost analysis of Heathrow"™s plans to build over one of Europe"™s busiest motorways.

IAG estimates bridging the M25, close to the M4 junction, would cost £2-3 billion on top of Heathrow"™s already over-inflated £17 billion bill for the third runway. All costs will be paid for by airline"™ customers.

In its submission, IAG says that Heathrow is the best option for expansion. However, the airport needs to focus on a shorter runway (3200m rather than 3500m) that doesn"™t breach the M25 and is delivered to a business case that keeps current charges the same or lower than today"™s.

It also welcomes credible schemes from promoters other than Heathrow. IAG says this would ensure customers get the very best scheme, built at an affordable price, which delivers a competitive new Heathrow for the UK economy post-Brexit.

Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: "Airlines were never consulted on the runway length and they can operate perfectly well from a slightly shorter runway that doesn"™t cross the M25. Bridging the M25 means years of disruption on a motorway already plagued by delays and congestion. As well as increased costs, this will have a huge impact not only on motorists but on local communities around Heathrow.

"The airport has yet to produce a business plan that assesses the financial implications and risks of bridging the M25. We will not pay for a runway that threatens both costs and delays spiralling out of control and where critical elements of the project could be undeliverable.

"Britain needs cost-effective airport infrastructure that benefits the country rather than Heathrow"™s shareholders. It is already the world"™s most expensive hub airport and customer charges must not increase to pay for the new runway. We urge the Government to benchmark Heathrow"™s costs against other similar global scheme".

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Fuente: IAG
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