Heathrow Hub releases safety assessment

2 December 2013 (Last Updated December 2nd, 2013 13:00)

An initial safety assessment has been released by Heathrow Hub, an independent proposal to expand the London, UK, airport. It determined that the concept is within existing risk parameters.

An initial safety assessment has been released by Heathrow Hub, an independent proposal to expand the London, UK, airport. It determined that the concept is within existing risk parameters.

Independent aviation consultancy Helios conducted the assessment, focussing on the unique runway aspects of the Heathrow Hub airside design.

The proposals include extending the existing Heathrow runways to some 6,500m and then dividing them in order to create four runways. This would double available capacity without extending the existing noise footprint of the airport.

"This initial report by Helios, judging our concept as having the potential to be safe, is welcome."

The concept includes a new multimodal air, rail and road interchange located approximately two miles north of Heathrow's Terminal 5 to accommodate passenger growth.

The proposal aims to complete the construction with private funds within five years.

The new design was put forward by Jock Lowe, a former Concorde pilot, and Mark Bostock, an ex-director at Ove Arup.

Lowe said: "Safety is one of the most important considerations for any airport so this initial report by Helios, judging our concept as having the potential to be safe, is welcome. The work on go-arounds is especially useful. Potential safety benefits were also identified, in particular arising from the use of a long runway in emergency, and better allocation of aircraft across runways and taxiways."

By employing combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques, the assessment examined the hazards arising during normal operations and emergency situations, including go-arounds and overruns.

The initial assessment determined that while the proposed Heathrow Hub concept has the potential to be safe, further analysis and evidence would be required to prove this in detail.

Heathrow Hub has included the safety assessment in its submissions to the Airports Commission, which is set to publish its shortlist of recommendations on 17 December.