HEATHROW Airport has underestimated the cost of a new runway by up to £5.6bn and will take at least four years longer than planned to complete the project, according to research from EC Harris that was commissioned by Gatwick Airport.
The report stated that Heathrow’s timetable for delivery is over-ambitious due to the extent of highway and river diversion works that would be necessary during construction, as well as the extent of remediation required to treat contaminants from a large number of active and historic landfill sites that will be disturbed.
It also cited the re-provision of critical airport support facilities located off the airport. On this basis, built asset consultancy firm EC Harris claimed, there is “zero probability of achieving the stated 2025 runway opening date”.
Meanwhile, EC Harris stated that the required capital expenditure, estimated by Heathrow at around £15.6bn, has been underestimated as a result of potential delays to construction, the omission of Terminal 2 future expansion and the exclusion of third party funding that will be required to finance elements of the scheme.
The consultancy revised the figure up to £21.2bn and said it could go as high as £26.5bn.
“In our opinion, the practicality of implementing the programme and in turn the cost of doing so, is unrealistic and is subject to challenge,” EC Harris added. “There are compelling reasons to doubt whether a new third runway at Heathrow can be delivered at all.”
Heathrow declined to comment.