Attempts to cut £6 billion from the £16.8 billion budget for Heathrow’s planned third runway looks like pushing the project back.

Weekend reports said the Civil Aviation Authority has told airlines proposals would not now be published before December, raising the prospect of the timescale slipping into next year.

It had originally been expected that Heathrow would start a consultation on the project, that will see a 50% increase in flights capacity, in August.

Carriers, including British Airways have criticised the cost of the project claiming it will result in higher fees that will be passed on to customers.

The Times reported that a latest report from the CAA which it has obtained says airlines are generally positive about the project, but have a number of ongoing concerns.

The newspaper reported the CAA as report as stating: “The airline community has said affordability remains their primary concern and they still require more confidence that the emerging features of the scheme design are affordable.

“They also want [Heathrow] to make available more mature information/data on costs and benchmarking before [the consultation].”

Heathrow is set to publish the first of two public consultations on its own plans. The CAA report said that the date had been changed from August to “no earlier than December 2017”.

A Heathrow spokesman told The Times: “It’s critical that we get it right and that’s why we’ve been working hard over the past year to consult our airline partners.

“We’re encouraged that the CAA continues to recognise the benefit of Heathrow’s engagement with airlines.

“We will continue to work closely with airlines throughout the development process and are confident that this partnership is the best way to help us deliver expansion affordably, sustainably and in a way that meets the needs of our passengers, local communities and all of Britain alike.”


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