IAG warns Heathrow plans to bridge M25 could ground expansion
24 / 05 / 2017
IAG has warned that plans to build a bridge over the busy M25 motorway – one of the busiest in Europe – as part of the expansion of Heathrow airport could ground the project.
In its submission to a government consultation document, the airline group warned that there is no detailed risk and cost analysis of the plans to build the runway over the motorway.
IAG estimates bridging the M25, close to the M4 junction, would cost £2-3bn on top of “Heathrow’s already over-inflated £17bn bill for the third runway”.
The British Airways parent would like to see a shorter 3,200 m runway, rather than the proposed 3,500 m, that does not breach the motorway.
Airlines expect fees to increase in order to help fund the new runway, costs which they say will be paid for by customers.
Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “Airlines were never consulted on the runway length and they can operate perfectly well from a slightly shorter runway that doesn’t cross the M25.
“Bridging the M25 means years of disruption on a motorway already plagued by delays and congestion. As well as increased costs, this will have a huge impact not only on motorists but on local communities around Heathrow.
“The airport has yet to produce a business plan that assesses the financial implications and risks of bridging the M25.
“We will not pay for a runway that threatens both costs and delays spiralling out of control and where critical elements of the project could be undeliverable.”
IAG said it also “welcomes credible schemes from promoters other than Heathrow” to ensure “customers get the very best scheme, built at an affordable price”.