IAG Chief Executive Welcomes Alternative Heathrow Runway Plan

Surinder Arora says Britain’s biggest airport certainly needs another runway but believes the current £17.6bn plan is far too expensive

Surinder Arora says Britain’s biggest airport certainly needs another runway but believes the current £17.6bn plan is far too expensiveTOM STOCKILL

The Arora Group - owner of hotels, housing, commercial space and auto parks in and around Heathrow airport - has submitted new proposals for the development of a third runway at the airport, which it says could save up to £6.7 billion.

According to the Guardian, Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines Group PLC, the largest operator at Heathrow, welcomed the intervention and said the United Kingdom government should "look closely" at the Arora plan and its cost reductions.

Ministers have expressed a preference for the airport's plans for a new runway and terminal costing 17.5 billion pounds, BBC reported. "Heathrow needs competition and innovation which puts passengers and airlines at the heart of the expansion project".

A Heathrow spokesperson said the airport continues to develop plans to "improve passenger experience, reduce the negative impact on local communities, and lower the cost".

Arora's chairman and founder, Surinder Arora, said: "We want passengers to be at the heart of our plans and the current monopoly at Heathrow, which over-charges airlines and in turn raises fares for passengers, is not the right model for the future".

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"One of the options we have proposed to government includes a possible shift of the runway so that it does not impact on the M25 and M4, as we know the M25 junction being affected threatens the deliverability of the whole project", the hotel tycoon said.

Founded by hotelier and entrepreneur Surinder Aroa, the group has also published the proposals on its website at thearoragroup.com, and says that they have the backing of airline groups including IAG and Virgin Atlantic.

Arora commissioned infrastructure company Betchel to conduct an initial assessment on HAL's current proposals, and has submitted its findings to the government.

British Airways is Heathrow's biggest customer.

It is estimated that a new runway at the airport would bring economic benefits worth up to 61 billion pounds to the United Kingdom economy, as well as creating up to 77,000 additional local jobs.

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