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Heathrow logistics hubs could be reused for Dublin Airport expansion

Dublin airport

Heathrow’s offsite construction and logistics hubs could also be used to facilitate Dublin Airport’s expansion, it has been revealed.

Bosses overseeing expansions at both Heathrow and Dublin said the idea of sharing offsite construction hubs is “being explored”, while speaking at New Civil Engineer’s Future of Airports conference.

Heathrow bosses are in the process of finalising the list of winning bids for the airport’s offsite construction and logistics hubs. Four sites will eventually be chosen from a shortlist of 18 to be involved in either assembling components for the expanded airport or serving as an off-site storage unit for materials before they are transported to Heathrow.

The 18 sites located across the UK were whittled down from a longer list of 65. Each site is managed by contractors, with the shortlist containing sites managed by Balfour Beatty in the West Midlands, Severfield in Yorkshire and the Humber, John Graham Construction in Northern Ireland and Tata Steel in Wales.

Heathrow expansion director Phil Wilbraham confirmed that the four winning sites will be revealed “very soon” and that he was open to the idea of sharing the hubs.

“We would be delighted to share [the logistic hubs], if it helps and works for everyone involved,”  he said.

Like Heathrow, Dublin Airport operator DAA is building a third runway. In total, DAA plans to spend €1.8bn (£1.55bn) on 117 projects as part of an expansion that will allow it to handle up to 40M passengers a year. Work includes building a new terminal, and changes to the airfield as well as the construction of new piers and cargo areas.

DAA head of asset management & development Larry O’Toole said the prospect of offsite logistic hubs was currently being explored and he said a “logical” conclusion would be to look at successful sites set up for Heathrow.

In particular, O’Toole confirmed that Dublin Airport bosses are already in talks about utilising John Graham Construction’s site in Northern Ireland.

“The concept of Heathrow’s offsite hubs is fantastic,” O’Toole added. “It is definitely worth exploring how we can tap into that – be it using existing hubs or creating new ones.

“We want to promote the idea of more offsite construction in the sector and so we are looking very closely at what Heathrow is doing.”

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