Heathrow has unveiled new options for expansion at the airport, which it says could reduce the cost of the project by £2.5 billion.
The savings – which are due to be released in detail next month – would come from three areas. Firstly planned new buildings would be repositioned over existing public transport and baggage infrastructure, (including additional capacity at T2 and T5), rather than a dedicated new terminal or satellite building as has been mapped out in previous plans.
Secondly the airport says that as-yet-undisclosed “technological advancements” would reduce the amount of terminal space required to process passengers “without compromising experience”. And lastly there would be a “more efficient phasing of capacity construction”, resulting in an incremental increase in terminal capacity “to better match growing demand”.
The airport said that the new options – which would bring expansion costs down to £14 billion – had been developed with input from airlines, and will be consulted on in January.
Crucially Heathrow said that they would result in expansion “with airport charges staying close to today’s levels”.
A report in today’s The Times said the new options would mean a “mini terminal” being built close to T5, to handle an additional 25 million passengers per year.
Commenting on the news Heathrow’s executive director expansion Emma Gilthorpe said:
“The Secretary of State set us the challenge to deliver an expanded airport for Britain with passenger charges staying close to current levels. We have now identified potential savings of £2.5 billion and are increasingly confident we can meet the affordability challenge.
“We are looking forward to presenting detailed options on how to do it in our consultation in January, and while we will continue to work to reduce the cost of expansion, we will not compromise on our local commitments.”
The new ten-week public planning consultation will run from January 17 to March 28, 2018.