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Heathrow proposes £2.5bn expansion price cut

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Heathrow could slash £2.5bn from its almost £17bn expansion price tag through savings detailed in its new consultation, such as ditching the proposed new terminal.

Several options for expansion will be put forward during Heathrow’s 10-week public consultation early next year, running from 17 January until 28 March. One option, priced at £14bn, proposes expanding the existing Terminal 2 and Terminal 5 instead of constructing a new terminal building.

Any extra terminal capacity would be built in phases to help reduce expansion costs. It could be 2035 before the new buildings are finished – as New Civil Engineer reported in October.

Less terminal space is forecast in the £14bn option as new technology would reduce the need for large check-in areas. Heathrow is currently operating at 80% full with 85.5M passengers per year; it needs to plan for 130M passengers with expansion.

Heathrow has previously said it wants to shave £6bn off its roughly £16.5bn expansion plans following alarm from airlines, which fear large costs would be passed on to passengers in the form of higher prices.

“The Secretary of State set us the challenge to deliver an expanded airport for Britain with passenger charges staying close to current levels. We have now identified potential savings of £2.5bn and are increasingly confident we can meet the affordability challenge,” said Heathrow executive director for expansion Emma Gilthorpe.

“We are looking forward to presenting detailed options on how to do it in our consultation in January, and while we will continue to work to reduce the cost of expansion, we will not compromise on our local commitments.”

Other options which do offer a new terminal building will be included in the consultation. Heathrow said it had been working closely with the local community and airlines to refine the expansion plans submitted to the Airports Commission in 2015.

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