• Three options submitted to Airports Commission: each solution is supposedly quicker and cheaper than building a new hub airport. 
  • Heathrow says all solutions have fewer people affected by noise than Heathrow today. 
  • Airport believes the three runways are enough to maintain UK’s global hub status for foreseeable future.

Heathrow has submitted three runway options to the Airports Commission as the battle to solve the lack of hub airport capacity in the UK continues.

The proposals suggest building a third runway to either the north, north-west or south-west of the existing airport.

It comes after fierce opposition to Heathrow's expansion from campaigners and politicians under the flight path in Richmond, Wandsworth and Merton.

Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, suggested this week Heathrow should be scrapped altogether to make for a four-runway hub airport elsewhere.

But Heathrow bosses believe all three options are "quicker and cheaper" than any rival hub option, and would deliver extra capacity by 2025-9 while costing in the region of £14bn-18bn.

Heathrow says the proposals will put millions more people within easy reach of the UK’s hub airport than non-Heathrow options and all three protect the businesses that surround the airport.

Colin Matthews, Heathrow’s chief executive, said: "After half a century of vigorous debate but little action, it is clear the UK desperately needs a single hub airport with the capacity to provide the links to emerging economies which can boost UK jobs, GDP and trade.

"It is clear that the best solution for taxpayers, passengers and business is to build on the strength we already have at Heathrow.

"We are showing how that vision can be achieved whilst keeping the impact on local residents to an absolute minimum."

Heathrow believes the two westerly options offer the clear advantage of a full-length runway, while supposedly minimising the impact on the local community from noise and compulsory house purchases.

Studies conducted by the airport show the north-west option performs better on noise and residential property impact than the north option whilst costing slightly more and taking slightly longer to build.

The south-west option has complications including cost, timescale and construction complexity.

The north option, however, is the quickest and cheapest, but offers the least noise benefits and has the biggest residential property impact.

A spokesman for Heathrow said: "Each option would raise the capacity at Heathrow to 740,000 flights a year (from the current limit of 480,000).

"That would cater for 130m passengers, allow the UK to compete with our international rivals and provide capacity at the UK’s hub airport for the foreseeable future.

"A third runway would provide benefits to the UK worth £100bn present value, well in excess of the benefits from Crossrail or HS2.

"Each mile the runway is moved to the west puts arriving aircraft approximately 300ft higher over London."