The Arora Group – owner of hotels, housing, commercial space and car parks in and around Heathrow airport – has submitted new proposals for the development of a third runway at the airport, which it says could save up to £6.7 billion.
The group operates hotels including the Sofitel T5 and the Renaissance London Heathrow, as well as three forthcoming Heathrow properties including a new hotel connected to a redeveloped T2.
Significantly it is also the largest landowner within the planned expansion footprint.
Arora says that its plans, which include a 23 per cent reduction in the footprint of the expansion site, and a new taxi way system at the airport, could cut the current proposed Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) plans by as much as 38 per cent, equating to a saving of up to £6.7 billion.
The group says that £1.7billion could be saved by changing the terminal location, design and taxi way system, with a further £1.1 billion cut by scrapping the “unnecessary expansion of Terminal 2”, and further savings achieved by reducing the site are, “thereby reducing the amount of demolition and groundworks required”.
Arora says that an additional £1.5 billion could be saved “by moving the runway to the east of the M25 and shortening its length from 3,500m to 3,200m, therefore avoiding the need to build the runway over the M25, which will create almost a decade of major inconvenience to drivers on the UK’s busiest motorway”.
The group admits that that this last proposal “is a far bolder suggestion”, but says that it has “presented the option to the government in case it wished to consider it”.
Arora commissioned infrastructure company Betchel to conduct an initial assessment on HAL’s current proposals, and has submitted its findings to the government.
Founded by hotelier and entrepreneur Surinder Aroa, the group has also published the proposals on its website at thearoragroup.com, and says that they have the backing of airline groups including IAG and Virgin Atlantic.
“We welcome Arora’s plans which look at alternative options and urge the government to take these seriously given they could significantly reduce costs and improve deliverability alike,” said IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh.