Heathrow's board has authorised its management to present the case for adding a third runway to the independent commission looking at solutions to the UK's airport capacity crunch.
Heathrow Airport Holdings' board met this week to consider what the company should say to the commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies that is looking at options to increase airport capacity, notably in the south-east of England.
The commission has set a deadline of next month for submissions on how to increase capacity over the long term.
"Our board gave approval for Heathrow to submit proposals for a third runway to the Airports Commission," said a company spokesman.
Heathrow is considering outlining more than one option for where a third runway could be located, close to its current site in Middlesex.
It is expected to say a third runway should be built as soon as possible, because the airport is operating at near-full capacity. However, it is also likely to say Heathrow should have the option to build a fourth runway later in the century.
A third runway is due to cost at least £10bn, and some of Heathrow's shareholders are privately warning they could reassess their willingness to pay for the infrastructure, after the Civil Aviation Authority proposed a real-terms cut in the charges the airport can levy on airlines during the period between 2014 and 2019.
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