Arora, a hotel and property group owned by London hotel magnate Surinder Arora, has proposed the development of a third runway at London Heathrow International Airport at a fraction of the cost of Heathrow Airport Limited’s (HAL) original proposal. The Arora Group’s proposal calls for the development of a slightly shorter runway at 3200 meters (10,500 feet) compared to 3500 meters (11,480 feet) in HAL’s proposal.
The shortened runway is also shifted slightly to the east to avoid the costly construction of a bridge over the M25 highway. Arora’s proposal also includes the development of a new Terminal 6 and a satellite building near Terminal 5, further increasing the airport’s capacity. In total, Arora’s $16.3 billion plan would cut $6.7 billion from HAL’s current $23 billion proposal.
Arora’s proposal has garnered support from IAG (the parent company of Heathrow’s largest tenant British Airways) CEO Willie Walsh and Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Keeger. In response to Arora’s proposal, HAL said that its own proposal for a third runway is “supported by the government and have widespread cross party political, business and union support.”
After years of intense debate and inaction over the future of London’s airports, in 2016 the government finally announced the go-ahead of the development of a third-runway at severely slot-constrained London Heathrow. However, the construction of a third-runway appears to be years away due to the various environmental and legal hurdles facing the project.
The UK Department of Transport said in a statement: “This will not be expansion at any cost but the right scheme at the right price, and we expect industry to work together to drive down construction costs for the benefit of passengers. A consultation on a draft airports national policy statement closed on 25 May and we are currently analysing the responses, and will set out our next steps in due course.”
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