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.


UAE central bank further eases liquidity measures for lenders

Updated 09 August 2020

UAE central bank further eases liquidity measures for lenders

DUBAI: UAE monetary authorities further eased liquidity measures for the country’s banks, enabling them to free up more cash to lend to companies and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The UAE government in March launched the $69.707 billion Targeted Economic Support Scheme (TESS), which includes $13.615 billion provided by the central bank via collateralized loans at zero cost to all banks operating in the country.

Monetary authorities are “reviewing the existing thresholds of two prudential ratios: the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) and the Advances to Stable Resources Ratio (ASRR) by temporarily relaxing the requirements for the structural liquidity position of banks,” a statement from the UAE Central Bank said, as reported by state news agency WAM.

“This step comes as an additional measure encouraging banks to strengthen the implementation of the TESS and support their impacted customers in overcoming the repercussions of COVID-19 pandemic, the statement added.

For the NSFR, mandatory for the five largest UAE banks, lenders were allowed to go below the 100 percent threshold, but not lower than 90 percent, while ASRRs could go beyond 100 percent but not higher than 110 percent.

The purposal of these ratios is to ensure that long-term assets are funded by stable resources of funding, and their relaxation means banks will have more flexibility in managing their balance sheets.

“The relaxation of the two structural liquidity ratios aims to further facilitate the flow of funds from banks into the economy,” UAE central bank governor Abdulhamid M. Saeed said.

“The temporary relaxation of NSFR and ASRR will supplement the other measures CBUAE has taken under the TESS to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on private corporates, small and medium-sized enterprises and individuals.”

UAE banks have accessed about 87.2 percent – or $11.872 billion – of the Dh50 billion TESS support provided by the central bank as of July while 9,527 small and medium enterprises and more than 260,600 individuals have benefited from the scheme.