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Runways – assessing the options

The Airports Commission has put out new consultation assessing the impacts of all three south east runway options. Time for the regions to take a view.

Early in December the latest in the Runways series of events takes place, a series which focus on the progress of the Airports Commission and its investigation into the best place for the south east to site a new runway. This time the event is being held in Manchester and concentrates on the views of the regions as to what would be the best option for them.

Timing is good. This month the commission released its latest consultation on the three options still on the table – a new runway at Gatwick, a new runway at Heathrow and the Heathrow Hub dual operation runway. 

The December’s Runways UK event is taking place on 2 December at Manchester Airport with the purpose of developing regional responses to the Airports Commission’s consultation. 
Find out more about the Runways events at www.runwaysuk.com

Check out the Colas video at Runways UK and on www.infrastructure-intelligence.com to find out more.

The consultation which closes in February offers assessments of costs, financing, carbon and noise impacts and business plans among other things. 

The commission’s final decision will be based on far more than which option is easiest to construct and likely to face the least opposition (although it may be hard to divert political minds from those highlights). It will be about what is the best solution not just for the south east but also for the whole country. Is a new runway at Gatwick that the Commission’s consultation anticipates will largely cater for point to point air services the right answer or should it be one of the Heathrow solutions that allow that airport to develop its international hub capacity? For regional airports looking to expand those are important issues and now is
the chance for them to make their
views known.

Overall, the commission found that the cost of a new runway for the south east has been underestimated by all three contenders. A new runway at Gatwick would be cheaper though possibly trebling the number of people affected by noise; the Heathrow options would be more costly but the GDP benefits would be significantly greater, with major local effects but at 5km distance “bundled quality of life” impacts would be broadly neutral.

Gatwick

Construction – £9.3bn, higher than Gatwick’s own estimate of £7.4bn.  Supporting infrastructure can be built in phases in line with increase in passenger demand spreading the cost and with the potential that the final phase of construction may not be required, reducing the overall investment by £2bn.

In terms of financing Gatwick Airport Ltd may have to raise additional equity of up to c. £3.7 billion and additional debt of up to c. £14.3 billion. This level of finance is not unprecedented for infrastructure projects and airports, the commission said.

Passenger aero charges would need to be £15-£18 (currently £9)

Surface access costs are put at £787M.

Passenger numbers would more than double from 45M to 95M.

GDP benefits would be £42-£127bn. 

Heathrow Hub

Construction – £13.5bn compared to Heathrow Hub’s estimate of  £10.1bn.

Heathrow Airport Ltd would have to raise additional equity of £5.1bn and up to £24.9bn of debt putting it at the highest end of the range for financing, infrastructure projects in the UK, a level described by the commission as “challenging”.

Passenger aero charges could be
£27-£28 (currently £20)

Surface access costs of of £2.1bn to £6.3bn depending on scenario though cheaper surface access option of a Western Rail Access would have “transformative catalytic benefits
for locations on the Great Western Main Line”.

Passenger numbers would reach
126-142M (currently c72M)

GDP benefits would be £101-£214bn

Heathrow new North West runway

Construction – £18.6bn compared to Heathrow Airport’s estimate of £14.8bn.

Heathrow Airport Ltd would have to raise additional equity of £8.4bn and debt of £29.9bn, putting the airport at the highest end of the range of financing for infrastructure projects, the commission said. 

Passenger aero charges of £29 (currently £20).

Surface access costs of £800M.

Passenger numbers of 132-149M (currently c72M)

GDP benefits of £112-£211bn.

 

Runways UK

The December’s Runways event is taking place on 2 December at Manchester Airport with the purpose of developing regional responses to the Airports Commission’s consultation.

Key speakers include Sir Howard Davies, chair of the commission, and Sir Richard Leese, chair of the Core Cities Cabinet and leader of Manchester City Council. Also at the event will be aviation contractor Colas which employs specialist teams to work with both civilian and defence clients to identify innovative technologies and techniques for construction and maintenance of airside and landside projects.

Colas has worked in several key mainland and island locations, from Manchester, Gatwick and Birmingham to the Falklands, Jersey and the Isle of Man. Areas of innovation include a focus on pavement technology – the company was the first UK contractor to introduce a European runway specification – and surface recycling.

Colas has its own mobile asphalt plants  which means mobilisation for a project can be quick and uncomplicated, with a guaranteed on time supply of asphalt.
Find out more about the Runways events at www.runwaysuk.com

Check out the Colas video at Runways and on www.infrastructure-intelligence.com to find out more.