LONDON, July 17 – London’s Heathrow Airport on Wednesday formally submitted plans for building a third runway, saying it would expand capacity more quickly and cheaply than creating a whole new air hub.
Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports, submitted three options to a government backed advisory body just days after Mayor of London Boris Johnson proposed closing the airport and building a new one elsewhere.
“It is clear that the best solution for taxpayers, passengers and business is to build on the strength we already have at Heathrow,” said the airport’s chief executive, Colin Matthews.
“Today we are showing how that vision can be achieved whilst keeping the impact on local residents to an absolute minimum.”
The Airports Commission will consider the proposals and make recommendations in 2015 on how to address Britain’s chronic shortage of air capacity.
Heathrow, situated west of London, has long advocated expanding with a third runway, and it is currently running at 98.5 percent of its capacity.
But campaigners warn the noise and air pollution would be intolerable for people living nearby.
Johnson called for Heathrow to be replaced with a major new four runway hub to the east of London.
Under Heathrow’s plans, a new runway would be built either to the north, the northwest or the southwest of the main site.
It claims each would boost capacity from 480,000 to 740,000 flights a year by 2025-9 and would cost between £14 and 18 billion (16-21 billion euros, $21-$27 billion).
“Each of the options could be turned into a four runway solution should the demand increase in future. This is a more cost effective solution than building a new four runway airport from scratch when we may never need one,” it said.