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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

Arora Group renews Heathrow expansion proposal

Concept design for a new terminal building at Heathrow by Arora Group

The Arora Group has unveiled plans to develop new terminal buildings at Heathrow airport that could provide capacity for more than 50 million additional passengers.

The ‘Western Hub’ plans are Arora’s answer to Heathrow’s own expansion plans. The group says its scheme would cost an estimated £14.4 billion, compared to a recent Airports Commission calculation that the airport’s own idea could cost £31 billion.

Heathrow has recently said that it will allow companies to bid to partner with it on various aspects of the expansion scheme, but Arora says it doesn’t believe this step goes far enough to creating “competitive” growth.

Designed by architect firm Corgan, the Western Hub plans concentrate on creating new terminal capacity between Terminal 5 and the M25, which Arora says eliminates the need to redevelop the existing terminals 2 and 3.

However, instead of new terminal buildings, the plan integrates Terminal 5 with new passenger facilities, connected by a central concourse.

The plans also include an integrated rail/air interchange within the central concourse that would link the airport with new and existing networks. Under the design passengers would be able to check in at this interchange, and walking distances would be limited to reduce connection times.

Surinder Arora, founder and chairman of the Arora Group, commented: “Our approach has been to work closely with airlines and to employ the world’s best and most experienced airport designers and these benefits are clearly evident in our Western Hub plans. 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.

“We are passionate about developing a Heathrow that delivers a truly world-leading experience; one that works for airlines, one that offers passengers a top-class journey, and one that has the commercial grounding to be a long-term success for the nation to take pride in.”

The Arora Group’s plan has received praise from the airline industry, with Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger calling it a “credible alternative” and IAG – which called on the CAA to open up opportunities for competitive bids on Heathrow expansion – saying the design “looks very interesting and deserves to be properly evaluated”.


I don't understand why this is in the news today, given that it was announced in July 2017 and reported widely in the media (including BBT) at the time:

Much of the proposed savings would come, we're told, by scrapping most of the planned T6 satellites (and hence gates) and the proposed T2 expansion (ditto).

So R3 gets built, increasing passengers and movements by up to 50%, but with barely more gates than at present.

A perfect illustration of why airports don't tend to get designed by hotel developers.

Dave Reid's picture
Dave Reid (not verified)

Thanks for your comment. You’re right, this is the second time the Arora Group has pushed its agenda for a new terminal, but this is the first time it has unveiled concrete designs for the facility. It’s also emphasising the fact it claims it can be built for a cheaper price – at £14.4bn, compared with Heathrow Airport’s present plan, which the Airports Commission estimates at £31bn.

It’s also arguing how it believes there is currently no competition on the running of facilities, as the airport is "under the monopoly control of Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) which has to date assumed the sole right to undertake Heathrow expansion”. This sentiment has been echoed by several third parties in recent months, and with Heathrow saying it will appeal to other companies to partner with it on the expansion scheme, it's topical for Arora to renew its own push for increasing capacity at the airport.

Whether or not that plan is suitable for accommodating the extra passengers R3 will bring is definitely a subject worth debating.

Molly Dyson's picture
Molly Dyson

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