Heathrow: budget row threatens to further delay third runway
Airlines back cheaper rival bid, warning projected spend could increase passenger costs
The chances of a smooth takeoff for Heathrow’s expansion plans were always slim, but an unexpected obstacle has arisen in the path of a third runway. Some of Britain’s biggest airlines have lent their voices to a rival proposal to develop Heathrow for about £5bn less than the airport itself declares necessary, fuelling a row over costs and throwing fresh uncertainty on the scheme.
A crucial vote on the government’s approval to expand the London hub is due this summer, but MPs were left confused after the airport’s main customers told them this week not to trust Heathrow with its £14.3bn budget for a new runway. Airline executives said the cost estimate could prove “grossly off target” and make the airport unaffordable as the overspends are passed on to carriers, and then passengers, via higher landing charges.
Source: Guardian Transport