Heathrow has told the Airports Commission that there is no quick or easy solution to ease the UK’s lack of hub airport capacity.
Physical and planning constraints mean short-term solutions to increase flights and generate growth and jobs are limited.
However, Heathrow is not proposing the use of mixed-mode1 as a short-term measure to increase capacity.
The airport argues the incremental capacity delivered by mixed mode comes at a significant cost to the local community because it would end periods of respite from noise.
This is different from an additional runway which would deliver sufficient capacity for the foreseeable future while still providing periods of noise respite for residents.
Heathrow has proposed a package of other measures that the Commission could support to improve Heathrow’s reliability and punctuality for passengers whilst reducing noise impacts for local communities.
At the end of this year, the Airports Commission will produce an interim report which will make recommendations on short and medium term options.
These options do not need extra runways or terminals, but can be delivered within five years of the interim report (short term options) or longer than five years (medium term options).
In its submission on ‘Making best use of existing capacity in the short and medium term’, Heathrow says the only realistic solution to the UK’s shortage of hub capacity involves building a third runway.
Heathrow is proposing a new package of measures to the Commission that would improve hub competitiveness and deliver noise benefits.
The measures include redesigning airspace and changing operating procedures to deliver a more efficient and resilient airport.
Some of the measures are designed to ensure that fewer people are affected by noise.
None of the measures would result in more flights at the airport.
Heathrow chief executive, Colin Matthews, said: “The Airports Commission has a challenging task in its bid to find short term solutions to long term problems. The only real solution to a lack of runway capacity at our hub airport is to build another runway.
“We are not proposing the use of mixed mode as a short-term measure because of the impact on local communities of ending periods of respite from noise. We are listening to local residents’ concerns and we are working hard to develop new long-term solutions that can deliver additional flights whilst also reducing noise.”