More than 100 potential partners express interest in Heathrow's third runway

The date of 25 June 2018 will long be remembered as a historic date in the history of UK aviation, after MPs cleared the way for the £14bn expansion of Heathrow and now the airport is ramping up its search for partners to accelerate innovation.

Airport  bosses say they have received more than 100 expressions of interest from companies looking to share ideas with Heathrow around sustainability, service innovation, building design, cost efficiencies and commercial concepts after it launched the invitation to businesses in April.

It’s all part of efforts by Heathrow to ensure that the construction of the north-west runway is “more efficient, sustainable and affordable”. The list of proposals being taken forward will be announced in late August, while the remaining potential innovation partners will be invited to submit a business case and implementation plan to demonstrate the feasibility of their ideas.

Emma Gilthorpe, executive director of Heathrow Expansion, said: “Now we have had the stamp of approval from government for our north-west runway scheme we can press ahead with finalising the scheme. We have been refining our plans as a result of a wide range of stakeholder feedback and we will launch the final public consultation on a preferred master plan in early 2019 ahead of preparing for development consent order submission in 2020. We have been exhaustive in our exploration of options and mitigations throughout this process and it is only right that we put our thinking to the test one final time. By asking the best in Britain to challenge our thinking, we will ensure no stone is left unturned in the delivery of excellence for our customers and communities.”

Government’s five-point pledge for Heathrow:

  • No cost to taxpayers - the new runway scheme will be privately funded. 
  • Massive economic boost to the country - new international routes, more than 100,000 new jobs, doubled freight capacity and benefits of up to £74bn to passengers and the wider economy.
  • Commitment to about 15% of new slots for domestic routes, new rail links, and new global opportunities for regional business.
  • Environmental protection built-in - expansion to be delivered within existing climate change and air quality obligations and a new ban on scheduled night flights.
  • Cast iron legal protection on commitments - Heathrow’s pledges to be legally enforceable, with punishment of unlimited fines or grounded planes if promises are broken.

The government has pledged that the airport will be built at no cost to the taxpayer, create up to 100,000 new jobs and benefit the entire country through guaranteed internal flights to the rest of the UK. But with environmental concerns continuing to surround the project, the airport is keen to put innovation at the heart of its preparations in a bid to ensure detrimental impacts are mitigated.

Commenting on innovation, Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “We have set ourselves some big goals for our sustainability such as carbon neutral growth and we have made an open invitation for businesses to come forward with ideas on how you can build and operate a global hub airport in a carbon neutral way and that’s really exciting. New technology will be a core part of the way we build and operate an expanded airport. We need to build an airport fit for the 21st century with a vision to the 2030s and 2040s.”

If you would like to contact Ryan Tute about this, or any other story, please email