Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Heathrow third runway timeline: 2015-2028

Charting Heathrow’s third runway from its backing by the Airports Commission to its parliamentary approval – and what comes next for the project.

July 2015

Sir Howard Davies, chair of the Airports Commission, releases his report concluding that Heathrow represents the most suitable location for a new runway in the South-east. The commission backs the development of a third runway at the west London airport over a second runway at Gatwick.

March 2016

Heathrow chooses its advisory partners for the third runway proposals. Arup is contracted to advise on the design and technical contract; CH2M Hill on programme management work; Mace on construction; and Turner & Townsend on information management.

Zac Goldsmith

Zac Goldsmith

October 2016

The government approves Heathrow’s third runway expansion, leading Richmond Park’s MP Zac Goldsmith (pictured) to resign in protest.

December 2016

Heathrow chooses seven companies to design its expansion, as exclusively revealed by Construction News. Amec Foster Wheeler, Arup, Atkins, Grimshaw, Mott MacDonald, Jacobs and Quod will be known as the integrated design team and are each awarded four-year contracts.

February 2017

The government publishes a draft National Policy Statement (NPS), for which a 16-week public consultation gets under way. The NPS sets out regulations that Heathrow must comply with to get a development consent order (DCO).

April 2017

Heathrow begins the hunt for locations to host four construction hubs – and for the construction firms to deliver them. The hubs will be responsible for preassembling and consolidating components for the expansion before they are transported to the airport.

May 2017

The government’s 16-week public consultation ends, having garnered 72,239 responses.

May 2017

The High Court rejects Heathrow’s bid for Crossrail trains to be charged for stopping at the airport. These payments to Heathrow would have totalled £42m a year.

Heathrow the new M25 improvement

Heathrow the new M25 improvement

July 2017

Hotel operator Arora Group, one of the largest landowners at Heathrow, submits alternative proposals for the airport’s expansion to the Department of Transport that it claims would reduce costs by £6.7bn. It suggests cutting back on terminal design and taxi systems; reducing the site area by 20 per cent; axing the terminal 2 expansion; eliminating the passenger transport systems; and moving the runway so it no longer impacts the M4 and M25 (pictured).

July 2017

Heathrow scraps proposals for a new terminal to lower costs. Instead, it will invest in extending terminals 2 and 5 phasing its work over a 20-year period. Plans for baggage facilities and an underground train are also omitted from the expansion proposals within the airport’s half-year results.

October 2017

The new draft of the government’s NPS and the public’s responses are published. The new NPS states Heathrow must introduce six more domestic air routes by 2030; more support for affected communities; legally binding noise targets; and increased payments to local homeowners. The NPS states that a second runway at Gatwick would cause less environmental damage. Public consultation on the revised draft begins.

November 2017

National Infrastructure Commission chairman Lord Adonis describes the impact of delays to Heathrow as “sacrificing national wellbeing… We have to get on and do it”.

November 2017

Heathrow reveals the 65 companies and local councils on the shortlist to be involved in delivering the offsite hubs, including Balfour Beatty and Laing O’Rourke.

Bison Laing ORourke Heathrow Terminal 2 car park 5

Bison Laing ORourke Heathrow Terminal 2 car park 5

December 2017

Heathrow announces it is slashing costs by £2.5bn by building a “mini terminal 5” and phasing the construction over 15 years. In addition to the mini terminal, Heathrow is considering expanding terminal 2 (pictured) and terminal 5 buildings to help meet passenger demand. The total expansion is now valued at £14bn.

December 2017

The public consultation on the NPS draft closes on 19 December.

January 2018

Heathrow launches public consultations addressing measures to protect residents from noise, sound and disruption, as well as focusing on design principles for airspace around Heathrow. A total of 35 consultation events subsequently take place.

March 2018

Heathrow’s 10-week public consultation ends.

5 June 2018

The final NPS backed by Cabinet, with MPs ordered to vote on it in parliament.

25 June 2018

MPs vote unanimously in favour of expansion at Heathrow, with 415 MPs voting in support and 119 voting against.

Late 2018

Heathrow will bring forward a planning application that complies with the planning policy framework, written in the NPS.


Heathrow will submit a final proposal to the Planning Inspectorate as part of a development consent order (DCO). After a public examination period, the transport secretary will make a decision on the DCO.


Date main construction work on the third runway was expected to begin according to the Airports Commission.

Heathrow Airport third runway expansion

Heathrow Airport third runway expansion


Expected completion date of the new runway.


Airport’s overall expansion fully operational.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.