Heathrow publishes ‘masterplan’ for controversial third runway

A computer generated image released by Heathrow airport on June 18, 2019 shows what the airport will look like in 2050 following the completion of a third runway and new terminals. (Heathrow airport/AFP)
Updated 18 June 2019

Heathrow publishes ‘masterplan’ for controversial third runway

  • London Heathrow is Europe’s busiest airport
  • Construction is expected to start in 2022, with the runway built by approximately 2026

LONDON: London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, on Tuesday issued plans for its controversial third runway, including the rerouting of rivers and roads, as it sought also to allay environmental concerns.
Britain’s government last year finally approved the third runway after decades of acrimonious debate.
“Heathrow today unveils its preferred masterplan for expansion,” said a statement from the airport, which is owned by a consortium led by Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial.
The detailed plan includes “tough new measures” to reduce emissions, limit noise and curb night-time flights.
The M25 motorway that rings London will be rerouted under the new runway, while river corridors will also be diverted.
“We’re working with those impacted residents, communities and local authorities to identify appropriate mitigation measures,” the plan said.
“New river corridors will be created to channel the existing rivers and wildlife away from construction sites and the new runway.”
Construction is expected to start in 2022, with the runway built by approximately 2026. New terminals will not be ready until around 2050.
The expansion is expected to cost about £30 billion ($38 billion, €34 billion), according to the BBC, including £14 billion on the first phase.
The hub, west of London, aims to increase its total capacity to 130 million passengers per day, compared with the current level of about 78 million.
“Expansion must not come at any cost,” said Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s executive director for expansion, presenting a new public consultation that will run until September.
“That is why we have been working with partners at the airport, in local communities and in government to ensure our plans show how we can grow sustainably and responsibly — with environmental considerations at the heart of expansion.
“This consultation is an opportunity for people to have their say on our preferred masterplan,” she added.
Heathrow will also issue compensation for affected homeowners, and establish a noise insulation policy and a community fund.
The third runway has faced stiff opposition for many years from campaigners who cited the negative impacts on noise and air pollution, habitat destruction, transport congestion, and climate change.
Last month, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, along with environmental charities and local councils, lost a court battle to prevent the Heathrow expansion.
Britain’s Conservative government argues that the project will provide a major boost to Britain’s post-Brexit economy and could create up to 114,000 local jobs by 2030.
Heathrow is owned by an investment consortium comprising also sovereign wealth funds from nations including China, Singapore and Qatar.


China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

Updated 12 December 2019

China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

  • China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane
  • China was first country to ground plane in March

BEIJING: China’s aviation regulator raised “important concerns” with Boeing Co. on the reliability and security of design changes to the grounded 737 MAX, it said on Thursday, but declined to comment on when the plane might fly again in China.
China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane based on proposed changes to software and flight control systems according to a bilateral agreement with the United States, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) spokesman Liu Luxu told reporters at a monthly briefing.
He reiterated that for the plane to resume flights in China, it needed to be re-certified, pilots needed comprehensive and effective training to restore confidence in the model and the causes of two crashes that killed 346 people needed to be investigated with effective measures put in place to prevent another one.
China was the first country to ground the 737 MAX after the second crash in Ethiopia in March and had set up a task force to review design changes to the aircraft that Boeing had submitted.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not allow the 737 MAX to resume flying before the end of 2019, its chief, Steve Dickson, said on Wednesday.
Once the FAA approves the reintroduction into service, the 737 MAX can operate in the United States, but individual regulators could keep the planes grounded in other countries until they complete their own reviews.
“Due to the trade war, the jury is still out on when China would reintroduce the aircraft,” said Rob Morris, Global Head of Consultancy at Ascend by Cirium.
Chinese airlines had 97 737 MAX jets in operation before the global grounding, the most of any country, according to Cirium Fleets Analyzer.