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Third runway plans

Britain’s lack of hub-airport capacity is costing the country trade and jobs. Heathrow – the UK’s only hub airport – is already operating at 98% capacity. That is why the Government set up the independent Airports Commission to examine the situation and recommend a way forward.

Heathrow's revised plan for a third runway is one of three options shortlisted by the Airports Commission to expand air capacity in the South East. The plan sets out our ambitious vision to create a globally competitive transport hub in a location that's convenient and accessible to everyone.

Expanding Heathrow is the right way to deliver the capacity Britain needs to connect to fast growing economies around the world. But this must go hand in hand with treating those most affected by a third runway fairly.

Economic benefits

Most economic growth over the next 40 years will come from Asia, North America and South America while traditional markets in Europe face a lower growth future.

This is why the UK needs better long-haul connections. The UK is in a global race to improve links with emerging economies and deliver the trade, jobs and economic growth that will otherwise go to our international competitors. Only Heathrow will connect the whole of the UK to growth.

An additional Heathrow runway would generate around £100 billion in economic benefits, create more than 100,000 new jobs, and connect the UK to new global markets.

Impact on aircraft noise

Using figures verified by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Heathrow published a report showing that a third runway could significantly reduce the number of people affected by airplane noise. The predicted noise reductions are delivered by a combination of a new runway location, steeper landing approaches and new aircraft technology.

Indicative flight paths included in the report show that a third runway would allow Heathrow to provide periods of respite from noise for all local communities.

Heathrow is not proposing adding extra night flights and the plans could reduce the number of night flights on existing flight paths. Residents under existing flight paths could have night flights only every third week rather than every other week today.

View the full report: Heathrow's North-West Runway: Air and Ground Noise Assessment

New compensation schemes for the local community

We understand that people living around Heathrow have concerns about airport expansion. A new runway, built on land beyond the current airport boundary, will have an impact on local homes and businesses. Flight paths for the new runway will expose new people to aircraft noise. In developing a third runway we must balance the wider benefits of a successful hub airport with the effects on our local communities.

Heathrow has committed to spending £550m on new noise and property compensation schemes if the third runway goes ahead. We are holding a consultation to hear stakeholder’s views on how the compensation fund should be used . We have contacted 180,000 households and businesses with details of how to take part.

We not only consult on specific proposals, we also have a standing advisory committee made up of local authorities, interest groups and airport users. This is a requirement of most airports in the UK. The Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (HACC) , which is attended by senior management from Heathrow, provides a forum for the wider community to feed in their views to the airport on an ongoing basis.

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