IAG calls for shorter 3rd runway at Heathrow

The International Airlines Group (IAG) has called for a shorter runway at Heathrow rather than one that would cross the M25. It claims that the cost of bridging the M25 could add £3bn to the current £17bn cost – a shorter runway would be significantly cheaper.

IAG is the parent company of British Airways and Iberia. It made the call in its submission to the Heathrow government consultation on the 3rd runway, which also said that there had been no detailed risk and cost analysis of the plan to build over the motorway.

On top of the £17bn cost of the new runway at current planned length, IAG estimates that the bridge over London’s ring road could cost £3bn, making for costs spiralling out of control even before construction began. IAG also pointed out that ultimately the cost of the new runway would be borne by passengers and freight companies paying for flights.

While in IAG’s opinion Heathrow is still the better option for expansion over Gatwick, the runway should be 3200 metres long rather than the proposed 3500 metres. The shorter length would not breach the M25 and would help keep costs down.

Chief executive Willie Walsh said: “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.”

He urged the government to benchmark Heathrow’s costs against other similar global schemes.  
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