Heathrow Airport has unveiled three options in its latest bid for a third runway.
In a submission to the Airports Commission today, it argued that an extra runway to the north, north-west or south-west of the existing airport would cost £14bn to £18bn.
It said its proposals would cost less than building a new airport – the preferred option of mayor Boris Johnson. Earlier this week Mr Johnson said he would like to build houses on the site of Heathrow and replace it with a new airport in Kent or Essex.
Heathrow also argued for a single hub airport rather than the “constellation” approach favoured by Gatwick Airport’s owners of expanding Gatwick to two runways, leaving Heathrow at its current two and possibly expanding Stansted.
Heathrow said the south-west option had the lowest impact on local residents from noise and demolition of houses, but was also the most expensive.
The north option was the quickest and cheapest but generated the most noise and resulted in 2,700 homes being lost rather than the 850 in the south-west plans.
However, the south-west option would mean 1,416,000 cu m of flood zone storage in areas deemed most likely to flood being lost rather than 6,000 cu m under the northern plans. The airports prefers the two western proposals.
It said the new third runway plans were different to those rejected several years ago.
Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said: “After half a century of vigorous debate but little action, it is clear the UK desperately needs a single hub airport with the capacity to provide the links to emerging economies which can boost UK jobs, GDP and trade.
“It is clear that the best solution for taxpayers, passengers and business is to build on the strength we already have at Heathrow. Today we are showing how that vision can be achieved while keeping the impact on local residents to an absolute minimum.”