The addition of a third runway at London Heathrow Aiport (LHR/EGLL) will be delayed by at least 1 year and up to 3 years after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rejected the spending plans.
Heathrow Airport had asked the CAA to lift its spending from £650m to £2.4bn which the CAA refused to do as it was concerned that the costs would be passed on to the passenger if the project fell through as it had not yet received planning permission.
The CAA has said that they felt “the best approach in the interest of consumers” was to limit spending on early construction costs to £1.6bn.
The airport had originally planned to open the runway in 2025 but now expects the runway to be built towards the end of 2028 and into 2029.
Heathrow issued a statement saying: “The CAA’s announcement is an important milestone in expanding Heathrow and connecting all of Britain to global growth. It increases certainty for our local communities and for the job creation, increased trade and lower airfares that expansion delivers. We will now review the detail to ensure it will unlock the initial £1.5 – 2 billion of private investment over the next two years at no cost to the taxpayer. Whilst this is a step forward, the CAA has delayed the project timetable by at least 12 months. We now expect to complete the third runway between early 2028 and late 2029.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the CAA said: “We believe that more runway capacity at Heathrow will benefit air passengers and cargo owners.
“Its timely delivery is required to prevent future consumers experiencing higher airfares, reduced choice and lower service quality.
“However, we have also been clear that timeliness is not the only factor that is important to consumers.
“Passengers cannot be expected to bear the risk of Heathrow Airport Limited spending too much in the early phases of development, should planning permission not be granted.”