Heathrow Airports is considering the construction of a new passenger transit system to link all of its terminals, as part of a 10-year capital investment plan to 31 March 2020 announced today.
BAA, which operates Heathrow, is investing around £5bn in Heathrow's facilities during the period 2008-2013.
But the operator said it needs to expand the airport to cope with rising demand, and to “implement its vision to be Europe's hub airport of choice”. It forecasts that average passengers per aircraft through Heathrow will increase from 141 in 2008/09 to 175 in 2019/20.
BAA said: "Options to cater for growth beyond 2011/12 are currently being studied. This will examine how to maximise the utilisation of the terminal and forecourt facilities on the eastern side of the CTA (Central Terminal Area)."
However, the operator's masterplan to develop the airport beyond the current regulatory period has to take into account the new government's recent announcement that it will not support the development of a third runway at Heathrow.
Outling its early plans, BAA said: “Longer term capital investment requirements may include the development of a new passenger transfer product, based on track transit or automated people mover technology, that could ultimately link all terminal and satellite buildings."
The transit could follow a sub-surface route across the Central Terminal Area, with possible extensions to Terminal 4, and eventually full integration of any new 6th terminal, BAA said.
The operator added: “There may also be further expansion of the new Terminal 2 beyond the first phase currently under construction. This would be built on the current footprint of Terminal 1, necessitating the closure of this terminal.
“In relation to surface access, investment plans are expected to focus on Airtrack and Crossrail.
BAA said the overall investment programme for the current regulatory period, which ends in 2013, was “making satisfactory progress”.
The key project is construction of a new Terminal 2 and satellite buildings which will replace the old Terminal 2 that closed in late 2009. Demolition of buildings on the new Terminal 2 site will be completed in 2010 and construction of the new terminal is underway.
Other major projects in the current regulatory period include completion of Terminal 5C, the second satellite to Terminal 5 that is expected to become operational in early 2011. In addition, as part of the development of an integrated baggage system across Heathrow, the baggage tunnel and associated systems between Terminals 3 and 5 are expected to become operational in 2012.
The full capital investment plan for the 10-year period to 2020 is available on the BAA website.