Heathrow Airport will set out third runway plans ‘in next few months’

Heathrow Airport will set out its third runway plans “in the next few months”.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye made the comments while addressing the Airport Operators Association conference on 31 January.

The plans being reviewed are expected to cover a new runway which will be situated at the north-west of the airport, as well as new facilities.

Heathrow’s website says plans “are currently supported by Government policy through the Airports National Policy Statement”, but Labour has voiced concerns.

At the AOC conference, shadow transport minister Mike Kane said: “We probably have enough runway capacity as it is. What we have to do is connect it up.”

Asked if the party supported the third runway plans, Mr Kane answered: “Not at the moment, no. We are committed to our four tests and need to see the spending restraints.”

“Will a third runway be environmentally viable? Will it be economically viable?”, Mr Kane asked.

Although Mr Holland-Kaye did not outline a specific timeframe for the plans, he said: “We’ll have more to say on that later this year.”

“We need a hub airport in the UK that is bigger than Heathrow. It’s critical for the UK that we have an expanded Heathrow,” Mr Holland-Kaye added, finishing: “We have to meet the four tests Labour has set out, which we will.”

As well as those opposing the £14bn project due to the cost, there have been protests due to the environmental implications.

In 2020, environmental activists won a court case to block the plans, although this decision was overturned by the end of that year.

Last week Mr Holland-Kaye told The Independent ‘s travel correspondent Simon Calder “how important it is” for a third runway to be built to increase travel and trade capacity.

With Covid showing the importance of broadening the opportunity for long-haul markets, “suddenly we were able to offer more regional markets in the UK, connecting all of Britain to global growth,” he said.

“We also saw people realise just how important cargo is. As we were bringing in PPE it reminded people that, unless you’ve got passenger planes flying, we don’t have the trade routes that we need.”

The Independent has contacted Heathrow Airport for comment.

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