Heathrow third runway: Hotel tycoon Surinder Arora has made a bid to expand the airport for cheaper

Lynsey Barber
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Surinder Arora has submitted plans to the government's consultation on Heathrow's third runway (Source: Getty)

A hotel tycoon has submitted ambitious plans to build a third runway at Heathrow in competition with the airport's operator which he claims could save billions of pounds.

Surinder Arora, the owner of Arora International Hotels, has submitted plans to the government outlining how the airport can be expanded for as much as £6.7bn less than the Heathrow Airport Holdings proposal, and with less disruption.

The multi-millionaire accused the operator of holding a monopoly and said it needs competition for passengers and airlines to benefit from the expansion.

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"We want passengers to be at the heart of our plans and the current monopoly at Heathrow, which over-charges airlines and in turn raises fares for passengers, is not the right model for the future. Heathrow needs competition and innovation which puts passengers and airlines at the heart of the expansion project," said Arora.

"We have brought together some of the world’s leading experts in infrastructure and aviation to develop the proposals that we have submitted to the government. In addition, our own advisory board brings in unparalleled experience including former British Airways chief executive Sir Rod Eddington."

Arora is urging the government to consider the fresh plans, created with US engineering form Bechtel and submitted to the department of transport's public consultation on the project.

"We appreciate this is a politically sensitive issue but it is merely an option with additional savings of £1.5bn, whereas the rest of our proposals save up to £5.2bn without the need to amend the runway location," he said.

And it's picked up backing from the boss of British Airways owner International Airlines Group along the way. Willie Walsh said: "The government should look closely at Arora's proposal as it would significantly reduce costs."

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Savings would come from a redesign of the terminal and taxi way system, ditching plans to expand terminal 2 and an airside passenger transit system. It also proposes reducing the site by 20 per cent which would reduce the need for demolition and groundworks and moving the location of the runway to avoid construction work on the M25.

It claims the total savings from adopting all these proposals would cut the cost of the new runway by 38 per cent.

Under current plans, estimated at £17bn, Arora's Sofitel and British Airways' £200m headquarters will be razed to make way for the new runway.

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