Heathrow's third runway - how will it affect air fares and flight routes?

The Government has trumpeted the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport as the "best option" for the whole of Britain, predicting it will be worth around £61 billion to passengers and the wider economy over 60 years.

More than 138 million passengers are expected to use the airport each year by 2050, a vast rise from the 75 million who flew out of west London last year, with more routes running internationally and domestically.

But how will the new construction of a new runway affect consumers, passengers, homeowners and taxpayers in the long-term?

Will air fares rise or fall?

The vast expansion of the UK's largest airport should lead to a reduction in ticket prices for flyers thanks to greater competition between the airlines.

Market analysts Frontier Economics, which assisted Heathrow on the expansion plans, said the lessening of congestion would directly impact fare prices.

On average, they say, current congestion at Heathrow adds around £95 to a return fare, a figure that could treble (in today's prices) by 2030 should the expansion not take place.

Could the alleviation of congestion at Heathrow lead to cheaper air fares? Credit: PA

With it set to go ahead, Frontier Economics predict return ticket savings of around £300 by 2030.

However, that saving could be offset by Britain's commitment to climate-change carbon targets.

A recent report by the Campaign for Better Transport said current carbon pricing could add hundreds of pounds to air fares by 2050, wiping out low-cost flights.

What are the projected new flight routes?

The third runway will lead to more flight routes both within the UK and to international destinations and lessen airport delays.

Domestically, the expansion will create six new regional routes by 2030, making 14 in total.

Heathrow points out that it currently has routes to just seven UK airports while Amsterdam flies to 24 UK destinations.

Heathrow projects the airport expansion will create six new regional routes by 2030. Credit: Heathrow Airport

Heathrow said the third runway will allow more flights to destinations like Exeter, Liverpool, Newquay, Jersey, Inverness, Isle of Man and Humberside.

Budget airline EasyJet published an increased flight destination programme while backing the Heathrow expansion project.

EasyJet published a list of potential new routes and destinations which it said would experience increased competition. Credit: EasyJet
EasyJet listed 19 projected new routes from Heathrow. Credit: EasyJet

How much taxpayer money will be used?

The amount of public money set to be spent as a result of the new runway is still being debated.

According to the Airports Commission, the £17.6 billion cost of the expansion scheme itself will not be met by taxpayers.

The Airports Commission said up to £5 billion of public money will fund improvements to road and rail links to and from the airport.

But outside experts cited by opponents of the expansion estimate more than £11 billion of public money could be needed to make Heathrow a reality.

How will those living closest to the airport be affected?

The third runway is likely to have a negative impact on house prices near Heathrow.

Russell Quirk, of eMoov.co.uk, said homeowners living in Hounslow, Kew, Windsor, Maidenhead and other surrounding areas will see their homes' value "blighted ... as a result of a lengthy construction process and ongoing noise and air pollution".

Protesters in Harmondsworth hit out at Theresa May's u-turn over the third runway. Credit: PA

The Government has said that under the plans homeowners facing compulsory purchase orders would receive 125% of the full market value for their homes, plus stamp duty, legal fees and moving costs.

A package of over £700 million of noise insulation for homes has also been included.

The runway construction will see 783 homes demolished, including the entire community of Longford and much of Harmondsworth.

London Mayor said a third runway would be "devastating" for air quality and noise pollution across London.

He said an extra 200,000 people would be impacted, with 124 more schools and 43,200 more schoolchildren exposed to an unacceptable level of noise.