What is the cost of the third runway at LHR to the taxpayer?

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(Last updated on: 04/04/2020)

If you keep an eye on the news then you will have noticed that the prospect of a third runway at London Heathrow Airport has been somewhat controversial in recent years. Amidst local opposition, arguments made in the name of political gain (or otherwise), environmental concerns, the relationship between transport and tourism and a thriving aviation industry, the topic has succeeded to remain in the public eye for a numbers of years. But what actually is the cost of the third runway at LHR to the taxpayer? 

What is the cost of the third runway at LHR to the taxpayer?

Heathrow Airport is a major hub for international travel and transportation. With the amount of people that travel in and out of this UK airport, there are many days where travelers are presented with delays and frustrations. An aircraft takes off approximately every 3 seconds at LHR and it has long lost its status as the world’s busiest airport due to unparalleled growth at airports in alternative countries. Did you know that China has built six new airports in the time that we have been discussing whether or not to build a third runway? SIX! 

With these difficulties, there has been a proposal about the expansion of the airport and the construction of a third runway. There has been push back from members of the Government as well as members of the community and the project was put on hold for a number of years. 

What is the cost of the third runway at LHR to the taxpayer?

Recently, however, a draft proposal for the construction of another runway has been approved by the Ministers. Before Parliament votes and decides on whether the expansion will be approved, however, many who live in the UK have one major question about the cost of this project: 

What will the cost of the third runway at LHR to the taxpayer?

If you are one of those taxpayers, then I have good news for you. In large, much of the money required to build the new runway will be raised privately. This means that for the most part, there won’t be a huge effect on those who live in the UK.

Bigger airports mean more passengers, and they’ve all got to get there on wider roads and better train services. This will mean that with this construction, there will need to be more improvement and expansions on the motorways and roads and other forms of transportation to get the passengers to the airport- this money will likely come from the taxpayer. 

Overall, it is expected that expanding Heathrow will entail putting part of the M25 in a tunnel. Overall it is estimated the Heathrow scheme would cost taxpayers £5.7billion, although it is known that these figures are often far exceeded. 

Then there are fares. To pay for all the work, Heathrow will likely charge the airlines more to land. And airlines may pass on some of that extra expense to passengers. However, it has been argued that extra competition should eventually lead to lower ticket prices- basic supply and demand- more supply= lower prices. 

While there is still a lot of information and details up in the air with the proposed expansion of the airport, the cost to build this runway should not impact the taxpayer as much as some UK citizens may fear. The social, environmental and political costs, however, are another story… 

Have you heard about this proposed expansion of Heathrow? What are your feelings about the impact on the community? Comment below!

  1. Stephen

    LHR is a horrible airport to travel through. I try and steer clear it, if at all possible. I much prefer flying in to airports such as MAN, or AMS.

    A third runway would have expensive knock-on costs, as you mentioned. I don’t know. There’s obviously no easy solution, as a third runway has been talked about for decades.

    • Hayley

      Yes, I’m sure it will happen eventually but when and at what cost are something that we will have to wait to find out!


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