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Plane speaking


Across the landing strip from Richard Rogers' much-publicised Terminal 5 building, some observers may be surprised to hear that BAA is quietly creating another piece of aviation history. At Terminal 3, GMW Architects is masterminding the £100 million redevelopment of pier six in order to accommodate the gargantuan new Airbus A380 superjumbo.

Although everything appears to be running smoothly, Astragal has learnt of one rather unusual setback that has yet to be overcome. The proposed escape shaft from the Heathrow Express train service - a rail link that runs directly underneath the terminal - will emerge slap bang in the middle of the runway. But Steve Elliott, the terminal's head of projects, does not seem to be all that concerned. He believes that, when it comes to saving yourself, it's simply a matter of weighing up the odds: 'You might get run over by a 747, ' he reasoned, 'but if my arse was on fire I'd rather take my chances.' Blimey.

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