HOTEL tycoon Surinder Arora has claimed the owners of Heathrow are “using smoke and mirrors” on government officials in a bid to block his £14 billion plan to build the airport’s third runway and sixth terminal.
The chief executive of Arora Group, the largest landowner at the airport, is spending £100 million with 300 staff working on a development consent order, the planning application required for major infrastructure projects.
This rivals the plans of the owner of Britain’s biggest airport, Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL).
After parliament finally approved Heathrow’s expansion last June, it was assumed that HAL, majority owned by Spain’s building giant Ferrovial, would spearhead the project.
But Arora and other aviation figures have called for competitive tenders to keep eventual charges lower.
Arora has hired US construction giant Bechtel and airports architects Corgan to work on a rival planning application that he expects to file next year.
He said: “HAL is telling the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority, ‘if Arora does anything, that will delay the project by five years’. It’s using smoke and mirrors. It’s disingenuously spreading rumours, doing anything it can to avoid competition.”
A Heathrow spokesman said: “Many attempts have been made to engage with the Arora Group and it is wholly inaccurate to suggest otherwise.
“The group’s most recent rhetoric fails to acknowledge that the Civil Aviation Authority found their plans to be so ‘immature’ that they are not credible, plausible or deliverable.”