BRITISH Airways Is Drawing Up Plans for a Sixth Terminal at Heathrow, to Stay Ahead of Its European Rivals

Sunday Business (London, England), June 17, 2002 | Go to article overview

BRITISH Airways Is Drawing Up Plans for a Sixth Terminal at Heathrow, to Stay Ahead of Its European Rivals


BRITISH Airways is drawing up plans for a sixth terminal at Heathrow, to stay ahead of its European rivals.

A document from Britains biggest airline, outlining the benefits of further expanding Londons premier airport, is understood to have been circulated in Downing Street.

A fifth terminal was only approved last November after eight years of protracted dispute and an inquiry. Residents and environmental groups in west London would fight any further expansion at the worlds busiest airport, where another runway is also expected to be built.

BA will be heartened that new rules are to be introduced to prevent drawn-out planning applications, like the one that dogged Terminal 5. The new transport secretary, Alistair Darling, has made positive noises about Heathrow, saying in an interview soon after his appointment last month that the economic argument for Heathrow was pretty compelling. BA will hope that he looks favourably on their unpublished report.

Terminal 5 will be completed by 2008 but BA will want more development approved before that date.

Capacity at Heathrow is 54m passengers a year, although this year as many as 62m are expected to use it. When Terminal 5 opens, capacity will rise to 85m passengers.

Industry observers say that even that will be too little, too late. By then, Paris will have opened a third airport and stolen a march on Heathrow. Amsterdams Schiphol and Frankfurt are also starting to erode its lead.

A sixth terminal would also meet the British governments air-traffic targets, insiders argue. Terminal 5 is set to cost around pound sterling2.5bn (E4bn); a sixth is likely to be nearer pound sterling4bn (E6bn). …

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