Airport wanted to increase spending from £650m to £2.4bn before getting planning permission
Heathrow has said its project to build a third runway has been delayed by up to three years after the aviation regulator rejected its plans to up its spending before it gets approval.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is concerned passengers will end up picking up the cost if Heathrow does not win permission to expand.
Heathrow had wanted to increase its spending from £650m to £2.4bn before it even gets planning consent.
In response to the CAA’s consultation, a Heathrow spokesperson said: “The CAA has delayed the project timetable by at least 12 months. We now expect to complete the third runway between early 2028 and late 2029.”
Heathrow had originally hoped the third runway would open in 2026.
>> Also read: Heathrow to link offsite hubs with tracking system
>> Analysis: Getting the Heathrow expansion together
The consultation, which is open until February, said the plan to open by 2026 was an “aggressive schedule that requires the maximum activity prior to DCO [development consent order] consent”.
The CAA said it felt the more modest pre-planning spending scheme it is backing would only delay the opening of the new runway by six to eight months.
It also said that while airlines had not backed Heathrow’s preferred plan they felt the CAA’s proposal was “a realistic and achievable schedule”.
The consultation said: “They considered this would deliver capacity expansion as soon as practicable, with a realistic programme schedule that does not distort decision-making and expectations.”
The CAA has approved Heathrow’s proposal to increase its spending on planning costs from £265m to £500m.