Heathrow’s boss says the airport will be able to “move quickly” if it is given the green light for a third runway.
CEO John Holland-Kaye told the AOA annual conference in London that the airport had already set up an organisation to build a new runway – even though the government has yet to decide whether it should go ahead or not.
“We have been getting ready so that we can move quickly,” said Holland-Kaye.
“We have put the internal organisation in place, we have started tendering for the supply chain, we are working with the regions of the UK to create jobs while we build as well as when we have built.
“We are working with councils to ensure that we support local communities as well as provide skilled jobs following expansion, and we are engaging with those 750 households to listen to their concerns.
“This may sound like a lot of planning, given that we don’t have a decision yet, but my experience from building Terminal 2 is that when you get to the end of a big project, you always wish you had another six months – so best to start early.”
The government is due to make a decision by the end of the year on the Airports Commission’s recommendation that Heathrow should be allowed to expand.
“You may have seen speculation that they could defer a final decision until after the mayoral election and think that a decision that has waited for 40 years, that will set up the UK for generations to come as a leading global economy, could wait another six months,” said Holland-Kaye.
“But most of the people I speak to, including those who still oppose Heathrow expansion, just want the government to make a decision and get on with it.”
Gatwick, which had been initially short-listed as a candidate for expansion by the Airports Commission, has also been making its case for a second runway.