BAA Says Start-up Cost of Stansted Runway Falls

LONDON (AFX) - Airports operator BAA Ltd said the opening costs for a controversial new runway and terminal at Stansted airport have been cut by 17.5 pct to 1.4 bln stg.

BAA, part of Spanish construction firm Grupo Ferrovial SA, said the amount of land needed for the developments has also fallen 22 pct on the company's December 2005 estimate.

In 2003, the UK government estimated the cost of the development to be 4 bln stg, with a land take of 700 hectares.

BAA said its detailed project plan had cut the land take by 31 pct to 486 hectares and reduced overall costs by 43 pct to 2.2 bln stg.

The group said the new runway and terminal will open in 2015 and accommodate an extra 10 mln passengers a year, subject to planning permission.

Environmental campaigners have opposed the plans, saying air travel is growing at an unsustainable rate and that the government should improve the railways and roads instead.

BAA said the development would provide a parallel runway, 3,048 metres long and 2,200 metres to the south-east of the existing runway and new parallel taxiways and cross-taxiways connecting the new runway with the existing runway.

There would also be around 42 aircraft stands and associated piers, a new passenger terminal building, increased car parking, improved bus and rail stations and a new control tower.

BAA chief executive Stephen Nelson said the announcement brings the prospect of a second runway at Stansted, for which the government reiterated its plans in the December 2006 Air Transport White Paper progress report, 'one step closer'.

'With an opening cost of 1.4 bln stg and a 22 pct less land take, we are confident of delivering a development that's fit for purpose,' Nelson said.

'It will provide the increased runway capacity that the UK economy needs, good facilities for passengers and value for money for airlines.

'We have also worked hard to reduce the impact on the local environment.'

The full development of Stansted will not be complete until 2030, when the airport will be capable of handling 68 mln passengers a year.

Copyright AFX News Limited 2006. All rights reserved.

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