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Heathrow rival Arora Group unveils alternative plans

A rival company has unveiled alternative plans to expand Heathrow Airport. 

Arora Group, the largest landowner in the area marked for expansion, today published its proposals to enlarge the airport’s Western Hub.

Arora’s plans, drawn up by architect Corgan, concentrate on new terminal capacity on the airport’s western side, which the firm says will avoid having to redevelop terminals 2 and 3.

The group said the estimated costs of its plans are £14.4bn.

Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAL) expect its own proposals to come in at £14bn, after cutting expansion costs by £2.5bn late last year.

Arora, which first announced its bid to redevelop Heathrow last summer, claims that HAL’s figures are “not comprehensive” and “misleading”.

Arora Group founder and chairman Surinder Arora said: “Heathrow has been in monopoly control for too long and our proposals show what can be achieved through an alternative approach and Heathrow fully welcoming competition.”

Arora alternative Heathrow plans aerial 1

Arora alternative Heathrow plans aerial 1

However, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye hit back at Arora’s actions. 

He said he was “bemused” Arora was releasing plans now, describing them as “a bit like the emperor’s new clothes – the more you look, the less there is to see”.

He added: “Not only do their proposals now cost more, but they show a complete lack of understanding of airport operations and disregard for those living closest to the airport.

“If these were serious plans, they should have been submitted for public scrutiny to the independent Airports Commission years ago, along with 50 other competitive proposals.”

Arora alternative Heathrow plans map

Arora alternative Heathrow plans map

Arora’s plans appear to have the backing of some leading figures. 

Sir Rod Eddington, former British Airways CEO and member of the Arora Group Heathrow Expansion Advisory Board, said: “Heathrow used to be the premium global aviation hub but has suffered under the current monopoly, which has seen it drop below other European airports.

“Arora is best placed to deliver true competition and return Heathrow to its place as the top-tier international airport, which is critical in a post-Brexit Britain.”

The government is due to publish final plans for a third runway at Heathrow later this year, which MPs will then vote on. 

However, former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis has said he believes a government decision on Heathrow expansion this year is “no more than 50:50”. 

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