Heathrow set for dramatic expansion

Heathrow expansion

More than 100 million passengers could be using Heathrow airport within just over 10 years if current plans come to fruition.

According to The Sunday Times the government will release a consultation document on the future of Heathrow by the end of this month. The paper has heard from "aviation industry sources" that the government will propose a two-stage increase in flights.

The first step is expected to be a change in the way aircraft use the two existing runways at Heathrow. Changing to 'mixed mode', where aircraft take off and land on each runway, will increase capacity at Heathrow from 480,000 to 550,000 flights a year. This could happen within just two years.

The second stage is far more controversial - the building of a third runway at Heathrow. This was first proposed in the government's 2003 white paper, but it was stated that the runway would not be able to open until 2015 at the earliest while air pollution issues at Heathrow were resolved.

Any plans for a third runway are bound to bring protests from environmental campaigners. They estimate that 700 houses would have to be demolished in order for a third runway to be built at Heathrow.

Written by: Nick Purdom


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