View Full Version : New runway for Heathrow planned

LTN man
25th Jun 2001, 10:52
Report in the Independent.

Government likely to back new Heathrow runway
By Barrie Clement, Transport Editor
25 June 2001
Secret plans for another runway at Heathrow are expected to be approved by the Government in a decision that will anger environmentalists and enrage the hundreds of thousands of people who will live under its flight path.

Ministers were desperate to keep the scheme under wraps until after the publication of an official report, which is expected to back construction of the controversial Terminal 5 at the west London airport. While approval for the additional terminal will dismay green activists, news that ministers also intend to sanction another runway will make the furore worse.

Airlines have submitted the plan for an extra runway at Heathrow as their main solution to increasing demand for air travel. However, they have also submitted a proposal for a runway parallel to the existing strip at Gatwick as a less-favoured option. Ministers are expected to favour the Heathrow project and announce their approval next year, but wanted the storm over Terminal 5 to die down first.

The new landing strip at Heathrow would run parallel to the M4 and would be shorter than the existing two runways. It is intended to take shorter-haul aircraft to minimise the noise and nuisance. It would also be contained largely within the existing perimeters of the airport, which would mean the compulsory purchase of fewer than 100 houses.

Airlines have pointed out that the favoured scheme would free the two existing longer runways to take inter-continental aircraft only. The Gatwick option would also minimise environmental damage, according to its supporters.

Airline executives have told the Government that, without the additional capacity, Heathrow would play second fiddle to rival airports on the Continent. They say this would damage the entire economy.

Ministers will be able to minimise the power of protests through new planning procedures. Proposals for motorways and airport projects would be approved in principle by Parliament. Planning inquiries would be limited to considering "detailed and local matters''.

Ministers received a report on the construction of Heathrow's Terminal 5 some six months ago. Roy Vandermeer QC, who chaired the inquiry, is understood to have recommended that the total number of flights should not exceed 453,000 * a figure already reached.Ministers are thought likely to allow the limit to be exceeded when they approve the new terminal.

25th Jun 2001, 11:00
A very welcome development if it happens - and unexpectedly courageous, if the government backs it all the way. With all of LHR's competing airoports in Europe having new runways - AMS, FRA and CDG - it has to be done. There's going to be opposition and lots of litigation, but the new legislation should at least prevent a repeat of the T5 debacle.

25th Jun 2001, 11:44
Thinks: Why do we need another runway when now - supposedly the busiest time of the year - we often have periods of light traffic in the afternoon? Also the place goes dead long before the night noise ban Airlines claim it's because people don't want to travel at those times... If they did I reckon we could land another 50-100 per day with the current concrete.

Yak Hunt
25th Jun 2001, 12:06
Sounds like more 'New Labour' spin and humbug - by the time it has got through Tony won't have to worry - so he will say whatever makes him popular. As Heathrow Director says the place could be better utilised. Labour at their best - just talk about all the fantastic investment they are going to make - yeah right!!!

no sponsor
25th Jun 2001, 14:30
And exactly where will the runway go? - "between the existing one [27R/09L] and the M4" - ??

25th Jun 2001, 15:23
27R/09L would become 27C/09C!

25th Jun 2001, 16:28
As a Heathrow Resident (5 miles East of airport) and aviation enthusiast I feel this is yet another example of the authorities fudging the issue.....

Heathrow is unfortunately saturated (most of the day). They did 1300+ movements in a day last week for the first time ever. It is physically constrained and does not have very good communications links. There are also some serious safety risks due to the density of population around the airport.

It also has a massive impact on the local economy (positive) and the environment ( negative)

Terminal 5 was "sold" to the inquiry and local residents on the basis of no additional runway and no increase in flight numbers. BUT then we hear about a new runway and the stealth increase of daily movements through new operating and ATC procedures (and this does lead to more noise, more polution, more traffic etc etc).

Lets face the simple fact that SE England needs a planned mega airport like Hong Kong. Positioned suitably for access to London (where circa 50% of users need to travel) and integrated into a suitable transport infrastructure.

If only we had had the courage to do Maplin Sands in the 70's!

David H
25th Jun 2001, 18:48
What does the article mean by "parallel to the M4" ?

Do they mean between the present 27R/09L and the M4 ? Surely not. This would place it on the present A4 and would necessitate destroying all the those swanky hotels on the Bath Road, not to mention conflict with the M4 spur etc. Perhaps there may be room somewhere on the alignment of the north perimeter road, but that would still necessitate a lot of destruction.

Could it be south of the present 27L/09R ? Hard to believe, given T4 and the cargo / VIP areas.

Just where could it be, even a shorter 6000 foot strip ? Maybe somewhere in the northwest corner of the airport towards Longford ??

And to think LHR was built originally with 6 runways (or 12 including reciprocals). ROFL

t'aint natural
25th Jun 2001, 19:38
Akerosid's posting illustrates one of the worst aspects of the Heathrow argument - that we're apparently engaged in some hairy chest competition with other European airports for business. Should we really sit crowing on top of the dump which is Heathrow, and raising the finger to the continent? Will business really go to Germany and Holland if LHR is not expanded? Business increasingly avoids Heathrow because it's a dreadful airport. How many businessmen want to turn up three hours before a flight and pay 2 for a styrofoam container of tea while they kick their heels? The majority of the passengers who pass through Heathrow aren't going to London or coming from it. Many of them spend longer getting to the airport than they do flying to their destinations. Why funnel them all into Heathrow, and then demand expansion on the grounds that it's so popular? Surely there must come a time when the interests of Big Airlines and Bloody Awful Airports come second.

Professor TailSpin
25th Jun 2001, 20:03
A third runway at LHR will no doubt help ease the situation in the medium term, but where's the room to expand and grow after that?

In 15-20 years time, will LHR be creaking at the seams again? Is there room for Terminal 6? 7? 8? Is there room for r/w 4? 5? Probably not, unless a large chunk of the surrounding built up area is utilised.

Surely it is time for a new airport to be built, away from built up areas, with purpose built roads and train links, and with plenty of land on option for future development and growth.

Will this happen? Probably not.

A and C
25th Jun 2001, 20:27
It would seem to me that the area north of the A4 and south of the M4 has been ear marked for this for years only the vilage of sipson (and the CAA heathrow office) will have to go as the rest is open land ,who knows with a bit of slick planing they may not have to move the VOR.

Aluminium Importer
25th Jun 2001, 20:43

Heathrow have been moving over 1300 flights per day on a daily basis (except some weekend days) for a long time now. I will find out for how long and post later.


t'aint natural
25th Jun 2001, 20:52
I suspect the third runway is a public relations blind for T5. At the same time as it announces approval for T5 the government could rule out a third runway, thus taking some of the sting out of the affair. You may remember BAA pulled the same stunt on the opening day of the T5 inquiry, announcing that it would not seek a third runway at Heathrow.

David H
25th Jun 2001, 21:36
I also think that the third runway (at least to the north of 27R/09L) is a blind, will never happen and is a non-starter. I know the area referred to by A and C, but if built in this strip, that would leave the A4 and its hotels and other commercial facilities standing between the new runway and the existing 27R/09L, and I do not believe in a million years this will happen, or that those buildings will be razed. Not to mention the problem of bridging the M4 spur, unless the new runway stops just before the spur.

All this is possible, I suppose, but I doubt if it is safe or desirable. And in the prevailing westerly conditions, how will aircraft taxi to the eastern end of such new runway without taking a ground tour of much of the neighbourhood

25th Jun 2001, 22:04

where can we fit even a 6000ft strip?

[This message has been edited by InTheAir (edited 25 June 2001).]

LTN man
25th Jun 2001, 22:21
Could Northholt remain open if Heathrow got a new runway?

25th Jun 2001, 23:32
I recall seeing reports for a shorter third runway at LHR. From what I remember, the residents of Sipson should be a little concerned that their homes are unlikely to be included in the current South East property boom.

25th Jun 2001, 23:49
Sounds a bit bizarre, but to cause minimum disruption whilst adding the capacity of a new runway, why not just build a taxiway from Northolt? The runway there is adequate for most of the tiddly little short haul aircraft using Heathrow at the moment.

Whipping Boy's SATCO
25th Jun 2001, 23:51
The proposal, as I remember it, was a third short runway to the NNW of Heathrow on the open land to the West of the Trust House Hotel. However, this was postulated in a Government report dated 1989 so I'm not sure whether this is still a viable option.

Regarding Northolt's continued operation, I played around with my radar picture today and, assuming a third parallel runway would be displaced by 1.5km, operations at Northolt would be untenable bearing in mind that the airfield is only 4.7km from 27R/09L.

Now the suggestion of just using Northolt as the third runway is not too bizzare. It's 5500' long and easily handles 737/757 type aircraft although range/payload may be somewhat limited.

I will dig out the old (public) report tomorrow and see if I can shed any light on the discussion.

Fly Safely..........

[This message has been edited by Whipping Boy's SATCO (edited 25 June 2001).]

26th Jun 2001, 00:21

This story was in the telegraph last year: search telegraph.co.uk for full story. Proposed by BA and others and involves demolishing Waterside.

[This message has been edited by Lucifer (edited 25 June 2001).]

26th Jun 2001, 01:05
There would be no problem with Northolt on westerlies - we run parallel landings at Heathrow sometimes so there would be miles of room twixt us and Northolt. We also accommodate Northolt traffic when we're using 23. On easterlies it might get slightly more exciting!

David H
26th Jun 2001, 01:12
In studying Lucifer's map it would seem that the additional runway is far too far away in the northwest, especially if it is used to by smaller "commuter" traffic, where ground taxiing is relatively greater.

Ironically, the obvious place to put a 6 or 7,000 foot strip would be where T5 is slated to be, ie. west from T3 almost to the M25. Also it would obviate the need for runway crossing a la T4 and be less obstrusive to air traffic and environmentally on the ground. But where would T5 go ? LOL

26th Jun 2001, 02:56
Whipping boys ATCO "Now the suggestion of just using Northolt as the third runway is not too bizzare. It's 5500' long and easily handles 737/757 type aircraft although range/payload may be somewhat limited".

I too have contemplated this option in the past. Sort of LHR north. The need then is for a tube or light rapid transport link (tram, guided busway or whatever)so that it is a seamless part of LHR. Should provide an option for shorter range lower capacity domestic ops eg Teeside, LBA IOM and closer European destinations. Appreciate the point about conflict of traffic particularly on easterlies or 23 Ops. How far can this be alleviated using for example LCY type operations, how far is a curved approach feasible? Is there room within the perimeter of Northolt for an E/W runway that can operate in paralell with LHR?

Airbanda-Proud to be an Anorak

Whipping Boy's SATCO
26th Jun 2001, 10:57
HRW Director is right with a number of points. Westerlies is no real problem, Easterlies would quite interesting. As it stands, approaches to RW07 at Northolt hav a 30 deg dog-leg at 4nm. At this point traffic is 3.1nm displaced from final approach on 09L at HRW. I'm sure that this problem could be adressed with systems such as MLS and appropriate 'parallel' runway type procedures.

Regarding access, the airfield is already adjacent to two seperate underground lines and the A40.

Jinking the runway onto 09/27 - not impossible but a lot of work and land purchase required.

[This message has been edited by Whipping Boy's SATCO (edited 26 June 2001).]

26th Jun 2001, 12:34
To build this new runway is an utterly absurd idea. Heathrow is already a dreadful place to travel from; hugely expensive parking miles from the inadequate terminals - some of which, like terminal 2, are already cramped and offer very poor facilities. T4 is miles from the rest of the airport, so will T5 be. The road infrastructure is groaning and the rail access is inadequate. The airlines claim that people want to travel from Heathrow; the reality is that Gatwick is too far our, Stansted is still developing. But if Stansted and Lootnairpawt can shake off their shell-suits and lager lout image and attract business travel and London City can expand, do we really need yet another runway at the god-awful place which is Heathrow? Particularly if it would mean destroying 100 people's homes....

No - develop the regionals as an urgent first option. Give Lulsgate a direct M5 access......but the big player for the future is a new purpose built airport somewhere else with a direct train system, good road access and ample car parking. Just because it might suit BA to expand Thiefrow, that doesn't mean it has to be good for the travelling public.

[This message has been edited by BEagle (edited 26 June 2001).]

26th Jun 2001, 16:25
As someone who regularly has to travel from Gatwick to LHR to connect with flights (following BA's cancellation of the JER-LHR service), a longer taxi time is but a minor inconvenience. In any case, a 7,000' runway should be able to take anything up to 777 size - even a 747 in dry conditions.

As for developing regionals, this isn't going to solve the issue of access to LHR; it's what airlines want and it's also in the national interest, economically. Speaking again from a Jersey perspective, I can tell you that the replacement of the Heathrow route by warmed over 146s to Gatwick isn't even near as desirable - even if only travelling to London - as Heathrow.

basil fawlty
27th Jun 2001, 01:41
Concur with B Eagles comments.
Also what use will a third runway be if aircraft have to cross another active runway (09L/27R)in order to use it? Look at the problems at Newark; holding 20+ minutes for a crossing clearance at peak times!
Development of other airports is the answer, there is ample space for a second runway at Stansted and the terminal is expanding. Also Manston is an option. Just a final thought....An ideal runway already exists, lots of land to build a terminal, close to the A1 and east coast mainline railway- ever heard of Alconbury??

Sonic Cruiser
27th Jun 2001, 01:48
Although this may be a crap suggestion it may be better than a third runway at EGLL, which should be built.
If money was limitless a all new airport should be built somewhere out in the Thames estury on reclaimed land. You would need a very high speed rail link from London and from EGLL itself. If the new airport were to be built big enough eg at least 6 runways etc you could gradually close Heathrow down.
The problem with this is most Heathrow pax/workers etc come from that side of London. Well build a few big car parks on the space left by Heathrow and connect a High Speed Rail link. Could be at the new airport in 20 Minutes or so. As long as it takes to get off the M4 Spur somedays. Then solve part of the southeasts housing problem by covering the area with new homes, the London suburb of Heathrow. Put some woods there to appease the greenies. Bish Bosh Jobs a gooden.
So before you all cry out and say what crap I have just written I know it would never happen and is totally unrealistic. It is what would be possible to do with limitless funds and a Government that is prepared to stick its neck out.

27th Jun 2001, 03:14
re the taxi times etc you make very valid points, as does beagle re the obvious compulsory purchase of land and houses to make this project worthwhile, not to mention 'green' issues. This proposal was I believe rejected quite a while ago, as T5 would not get the go-ahead with such plans in the background. To make this idea viable you would really need a terminal facility of some sort closer to the runway than the current existing and proposed ones are, so T6 anyone? very very unlikely.
There has also been a recent thread on runways in the south east recently, Alconbury has already been rejected at the most basic planning level, even though as a site it has some potential.

27th Jun 2001, 03:52
Folks, it's obvious where the proposed runway will go - you thought that Prescott's red strip on the fast lane of the M4 was just a bus & taxi lane. Haa, he's not so dumb - had you all fooled!

Aluminium Importer
27th Jun 2001, 17:37
Slightly off topic, but in response to nickhewett's post earlier:

Heathrow moved 1300+ a day for the first time in June 1998 (1321 movements), and we have regularly been moving over 1300 since then.

The latest record (Friday 8th June this year) was 1353 movements.

Hope this helps


Professor TailSpin
27th Jun 2001, 17:55
With 1353 movements on that day, if split across the entire 24 hours, works out at around 56 movements an hour (almost one a minute)

How is this done, even with dual runway operations?

How many movements were managed in the busiest hour of that day?

I'd love to know how ATC managed to cram all that into one day

Aluminium Importer
27th Jun 2001, 19:25
Hello Professor,

The movements are roughly split 50/50 between fixed wing departures and arrivals with maybe one or two helicopter movements included.

The hours in which 99% of these movements occur are between 6am and 10pm (16 hours).

Divide the 1353 by that 16 hours and you get about 85 movements per hour. Divide that by two and get approx 42 departures and 42 arrivals in any particular hour.

The peak hours, however, are roughly between 7am to 11am and 5pm to 8pm, with relatively quiet hours in the middle of the day.

It is therefore easily possible to have a few hours of 90+ movements / hour. About one movement every 45 seconds.

But it all averages out to give about 85 movements / hour over the 16 busy hours of the day.

I will find the busiest hour on that day when I'm next at work (Saturday) and post soon after.

Hope this helps,


[This message has been edited by Aluminium Importer (edited 27 June 2001).]

27th Jun 2001, 19:28
Heathrow is only operating at full capacity (due to noise restraints) from 6am till10pm that makes 16 hours. The average landing rate is about 42 per hour. The departure rate probably about 43. That gives 85x16 =1360 movements, not including those few that arrive before 0600. Hope this helps.

Stan By
27th Jun 2001, 21:37
I'd thought of Northolt as a new EGLL runway too. However, my thoughts were to use it either for slow traffic only, or traffic below a certain vortex category. Just purely to make it easier to stream inbounds both to EGWU and EGLL.

But as everyone says you'd need a high speed rail link or similar to EGLL. The residents of Ruislip, Harrow, etc might have something to say about it too!

northern boy
27th Jun 2001, 23:39
Before they increase capacity, the powers that be would be better occupied improving the third world state of the terminals and the bloody dreadful public transport access.If I had never been to the UK before and my first impression of the country was Heathrow, I would be inclined to turn round and go home.
I agree with the postings that suggest a brand new South East mega airport with fast (and affordable to the masses not just corporate fatboys) transport links to London AND the rest of the UK.

28th Jun 2001, 01:42
elandel writes that the average landing rate at LHR is 42 per hour but the average depature rate is 43 per hour.

So where are the extra aircraft coming from? ;)

28th Jun 2001, 12:04
Ever noticed that there's a big grass field in the line of buildings along the A4 Bath Road. Would make a nice place for a taxiway from the current site up to where a new runway could go wouldn't it!

Alternatively, why don't we just bulldoze Hounslow instead?


28th Jun 2001, 17:41
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">Alternatively, why don't we just bulldoze Hounslow instead?</font>
No, like the ad. says: Get rid of ugly Staines.

Professor TailSpin
28th Jun 2001, 18:21
Okay, so 42 movements in means that there is one landing every 85 seconds or so.

I thought that minimum spacing between a/c was 2 mins (although I'm probably way off)?

How does the two r/w operation work than in order to get this many t/o and landings to work?

Professor TailSpin
28th Jun 2001, 18:26
Just realised that it's not 2 mins but 2 miles....

Still impressive though.

I'll go and sit quietly in my corner now

basil fawlty
29th Jun 2001, 00:17

Ref: Alconbury as a potential new airport-
I agree 100%. Yes, I am aware of the planning application refusal(I live 10 miles from there), but something of such importance to the future of the UK economy (ie increasing airport capacity to contain demand) should not be going through the usual planning channels!! Regretably the NIMBY's win out again, with the entire country suffering in the long run. Lets face it, the UK air tranport sector is, amongst others, being slowly crucified as a result of political expediency at a national and local level!!

Seat 32F
29th Jun 2001, 05:27
I've often thought that really what should happen is that the Isle of Wight should be compulsorily purchased and turned into one huge great airport for the whole of the south UK, with fast rail links serving London, Bristol, Birmingham etc.

Doors to Automatic
29th Jun 2001, 13:02
My suggestion, which I have posted on this forum several times, would be to extend 23 2000-3000 ft to the North-East and end the 05 end to the north of 27L/09R.

This would give a 7000-8000ft runway which, with a bit of careful planning, could be used simultaneously with the other two whilst causing minimal disruption to the neighbouring area.

29th Jun 2001, 13:34
Doors to Automatic,

And we Heathrow ATCOs have also posted our reasons "several times," about why your proposal will not work!

Whipping Boy's SATCO
30th Jun 2001, 00:19
D to A, indulge me. Just how exactly would you do it?

30th Jun 2001, 00:33
D to A,

I imagine the first major problem with your plan to extend runway 23/5 is that when 27L is being used as the departing runway, all aircraft from terminals 1,2 and 3 would have to cross the now active runway 23, to get to the threshold of 27L.

Also, runway 23 is used as a holding area for 27R departures, usually for T4 aircraft and some T 1,2 and 3 heavies. On regular occasions, when the queue to depart is long, the 'traditional' holding area at block 134 goes out on to the outer taxiway, so by the time you add all the T4 aircraft to this queue, you will have very congested taxiways around LHRs central area!

Also, lets not forget having to get your timing perfect so that an aircraft isn't landing on 23 just as one comes overhead to land on 27R, or an aircraft on 23 has brake failure and collides with an aircraft rolling down 27L.

[This message has been edited by splonguk (edited 29 June 2001).]