The Arora Group has unveiled its plans for new terminal buildings at London Heathrow Airport, as part of its bid to undertake the development of Heathrow’s expansion. Known as the ‘Western Hub’, the new terminals are designed to provide capacity for over 50 million additional passengers and will transform passenger experience and efficiency at the UK’s premier gateway to the world.
The estimated cost of Arora’s airport expansion plans to full capacity is €16.3bn (£14.4bn). The competing scheme, from the existing airport company (Heathrow Airport Limited), was recently costed at more than twice this sum by the Airports Commission, at €35.2bn (£31bn). Arora’s new plans make airport expansion affordable and give Heathrow the best chance of success when competing with other hub airports, such as Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris-Charles De Gaulle, post-Brexit.
Arora’s Western Hub plans have been designed by internationally acclaimed architects, Corgan, who are responsible for many of the world’s leading airport terminals. The proposals will provide a step change in Heathrow’s international standing and competitiveness.
The Arora proposals concentrate new terminal capacity on the western side of Heathrow, between the existing Terminal 5 (T5) and the M25. This avoids the need to redevelop existing terminals in the Heathrow central area (Terminals 2 and 3) which would be far more expensive and disruptive.
Instead of new, independent terminal buildings, the Western Hub integrates new passenger facilities with T5 into a single hub campus. At the heart is a new central concourse, which will serve as a single front door for all 85m passengers using the Western Hub. This building will be a magnificent and vibrant grand space, designed to amaze passengers and capture the excitement of air travel. It will provide efficient check-in facilities and compelling commercial amenities and will include one of the UK’s largest and most important rail interchanges.
The central concourse will provide fast and easy access to both Terminal 5 and to the new Terminal 6, with an elevated bridge concourse providing panoramic views over the airfield for passengers, and easy navigation underneath for aircraft.
Surinder Arora, Founder & Chairman of the Arora Group, said: “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.”
Jonathan Massey, Principal of Corgan’s Aviation Studio, commented: “Our plans maximise the site’s potential, incorporating a large number of gates next to T5, reducing passenger connect-times, and including an integrated public transport hub as part of an innovatively designed ‘central processor’ core area, to develop the best operational solution for Heathrow.”
Sir Rod Eddington, former British Airways CEO and member of the Arora Group Heathrow Expansion Advisory Board, commented: “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.”
Airlines operating from Heathrow have consistently voiced concerns about HAL’s ability to undertake Heathrow expansion in a cost-effective manner and have called for competitive principles to be adopted to ensure that expansion is undertaken by the best party and to ensure that it is a success. Airlines have therefore welcomed the Arora proposals.
A spokesperson from International Airlines Group said: “Competition at Heathrow is critical to keeping costs low and we call on the Government to break up the airport’s monopoly and allow third parties to run terminals. The Arora proposal looks very interesting and deserves to be properly evaluated so that customers can get the best facilities at the most affordable price”.
Craig Kreeger, CEO, Virgin Atlantic, said: “Heathrow expansion is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to challenge the status quo and build the right airport for the future. Arora has developed a plan that will bring down the cost of construction and inject competition at the UK’s hub airport. At first look, this plan appears to be a credible alternative. Virgin Atlantic believes passionately in the benefits of competition to consumers, so we urge all involved in Heathrow expansion to give the Arora plan serious consideration.”