Heathrow this week set out plans for a new £3bn capital investment programme for the five years from April 2014.
It said the programme would underpin the airport’s role as the UK’s main aviation hub.
Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said that investment in the so-called “sixth quinquennial” (Q6) regulatory period would boost the airport’s efficiency, by smoothing the flow of passengers and reducing delays for airlines.
“Heathrow faces stiff competition from other European hubs and we must continue to improve the service that we offer passengers and airlines,” said Matthews.
“Our plan for a further £3bn of private sector investment will further improve the airport.”
Matthews confirmed that the plans would not include further expansion of terminals.
“Around one third of the investment is in maintaining the steady state”
Colin Matthews, Heathrow
He said construction of the Terminal 2C satellite to complete the Eastern Campus facility would not start until after 2019.
He added that the rate of progress under the overarching 2030 masterplan for Heathrow, which would see the older central terminal 1 and 3 buildings replaced with new satellite buildings was a “balancing act” between the demands of the airlines and economics of financing the investment.
Matthews said Heathrow’s plans to enhance the airport in Q6 would continue regardless of the outcome of the government’s ongoing review of aviation policy.
The review by Lord Davies will publish interim findings at the end of 2013 with final conclusions published during in the next parliament.
The review will consider whether a third runway at Heathrow is needed, whether to increase capacity elsewhere or whether to invest in a new hub such as those proposed in the Thames estuary.
Matthews said the review’s timescales meant that investment in Heathrow had to continue.
He insisted that the plans to spend around £600M a year until 2019 would go beyond simply maintaining the existing facilities.
“Around one third of the investment is in maintaining the steady state,” said Matthews.
“But the rest is in enhancements around the airport. We have made a sustained effort to make Heathrow better and we are determined that Q6 will continue that journey.”
Heathrow currently handles 70M passengers a year and, with just two runways operates close to capacity with 480,000 aircraft movements a year.
Heathrow development director John Holland-Kaye said that Terminal 2A and its B satellite would open in early 2014.
This would signal the end of the current major terminal construction activity. Investment focus will then switch to improving the taxiway facilities and adding to the passenger experience with expansion of the “personal pod” transit network between car parks and terminal buildings.
Holland-Kaye said that once T2 had opened there would a major programme to “de-clutter” the airport’s central area. This would see the redundant Terminal 1 building removed after all airlines had been relocated by 2016.