API magazine
October 1, 2020

The expansion plan for London Heathrow Airport (LHR) in the UK will be delayed by more than a year, and the third runway now will probably be completed between early 2028 and late 2029, the airport said.

The delay came after the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the airport could not increase its spending on early construction costs to ensure that the runway was built by the end of 2026, as it wanted. The CAA said it was in the best interests of consumers for Heathrow to spend more than GBP 1.6 billion on early construction, rejecting the airport’s GBP 2.4 billion plan. The CAA said that limiting costs was in the best interests of passengers, who could end up footing the bill through higher airport charges if Heathrow does not win planning permission.

“While we recognise the potential benefit to consumers of the runway opening being as early as possible, we are also mindful of the risks associated with sunk costs,” the CAA said in a report. It said that an independent surveyor had called Heathrow’s plan to open a new runway by 2026 a schedule which is “in all likelihood too aggressive”. Heathrow called the CAA’s report “an important milestone” but said it would result in the delay.