London’s Heathrow Airport has big plans for the new year. They plan to increase their number of flights by five percent before opening a third runway, according to the Times.
In a 16-billion-pound ($20 billion) expansion plan, Heathrow Airport expects to add 68 more take-offs and landings every day in the next few years, totaling about 25,000 new flights a year.
This would exceed their existing flight limit of 480,000 that they set 20 years ago when Terminal 5 was built. If all goes to plan, the airport is likely to get closer to 740,000 flights per year and about 135 million travelers.
The new terminal Heathrow is working on would be a two-mile runway to the northwest of the airport. They’ve dealt with decades of delays surrounding this new terminal over public concern for extra noise, increased pollution, and impact on homes and roads in the vicinity. However, the airport claims they are expecting construction to begin in 2021 and for the strip to open in 2026.
Heathrow will hold a public consultation on these future operations starting on Tuesday which will continue until March 4. The public comment period will showcase the new flight paths for the runways and the changes to existing routes.
Though Heathrow seems confident that they’ll be able to implement this new landing strip and the 25,000 extra flights per year, they’ll face opposition from west London residents who have fought expansion proposals due to various issues, including noise pollution.
Even if Heathrow doesn’t have the third runway built, the Times reports that Heathrow is determined to increase their number of flights, indicating that this busy airport is sure to get busier in the next few years.
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