Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world, with millions of passengers passing through every day. To enable better services and more flights for the increasing passenger traffic, Heathrow had undertaken an expansion plan, which included the building of a new runway, the third for the airport. However, there seems to be no end to the troubles to the extension plans. As soon as the authorities take care of one problem, another seems to be cropping up out of nowhere. According to European flight delays, funds for the third runway is the latest roadblock authorities have encountered in the expansion plans for the airport.
Issues facing the Heathrow airport expansion plan
Due to misjudgement and a delay in the actual work, there has been a massive change in the cost of the expansion of the airport. This has led to delays and rethinking of what should be included in the expansion plan of the airport and what should be actually implemented. One of the key points of the expansion plan was to make runways at the airport ready for taking on more air traffic in coming years. There were a number of recommendations on how to go about doing it. However, it does not seem like a smooth road to get there.
There was a cost estimation done and submitted before the expansion work began. However, with delays, rethinking of plans and increase in cost of raw materials and resources, original budgets have gone for a toss. If the airport has to build a new runway, which would be the third for the airport, it would cost £3 billion more than was initially expected. This would take the budget of the expansion plan to £18.6 billion, along with another £3.4 billion increase in the budget for extending and splitting the exiting northern runway.
The increase in cost is expected to be reflected in airport charges and, therefore, result in increased passenger fares.
How will difference in estimated and actual costs affect construction of third runway?
The building of the third runway has been on hold for close to three years, due to the massive misjudgement of funds required for building it. During these three years, there was discussion and deliberation on which of the three recommendations to go with, one of them being to extend an existing runway. As of July, 2015, the recommendation finally made after deliberations was for building a new third runway at the Heathrow airport, as discussed in many European flight delay news reports.
However, it is still only a recommendation, and it will be at least another few months before it is approved. If, for any reason, the recommendation is axed, authorities will have to hold fresh discussions and deliberations on what would be the next best option, and the entire process will be repeated again.
If, for any reason, the expansion plans get delayed further, there is every chance that the expenses will mount further and cause more problems going ahead. It will cost more to the taxpayers, lead to further increase in airport charges and reflect on passenger airfares and airport services.