An aircraft would only need to start its engines once on the grid, about 10 minutes before actual takeoff.
Virgin claims the scheme would reduce fuel consumption and onthe-ground carbon emissions at Heathrow by more than 50 per cent ahead of takeoff.
Trials of both empty and full passenger planes are already under way, with larger scale trials planned for the new year.
GATWICK is at risk of losing its high-speed express train service under plans to ease overcrowding on busy commuter services.
Ministers are considering proposals to make the direct airport link from Victoria station stop at Clapham Junction, East Croydon and Redhill.
But insiders at BAA, which owns Gatwick, fear that scrapping the non-stop service could convince passengers to use other airports.
They warned that the move would "screw up" the existing service and could be damaging to London's transport system in the run-up to the Olympics.
MPs, who have tabled a motion in protest at the plans, are also concerned travellers could be forced onto the roads.
>"There are signs of a market not working well for consumers and we believe a full inquiry into BAA's structure is justified."
The Competition Commission is looking into BAA's ownership of seven major airports, including Heathrow.
The announcement sets the company on a collision course with regulators and means that BAA is certain to be referred to the Competition Commission.
How to end the 'Heathrow hassle' BAA's monopoly on the capital's three main airports means that it has become complacent, writes Russell Hotten
IT IS difficult to think of another company with so many dissatisfied customers. More than 70m passengers have passed through Heathrow Airport in the past 12 months and it seems a reasonable bet...