London Heathrow Airport
|London Heathrow Airport
|Height above MSL||25 m (82 ft )|
|Distance from the city center||15 miles west of London|
London Underground :
|operator||Heathrow Airport Holdings|
|Terminals||4 (+ 1 closed)|
|Air freight||1,771,342 t (2018)|
( PAX per year)
|Employees||approx. 76,000 (of which approx. 6,400 at the operator)|
|09L / 27R||3902 m × 50 m asphalt|
|09R / 27L||3660 m × 50 m asphalt|
The London Heathrow Airport ( IATA code : LHR , ICAO : EGLL ) is the largest of the six international airports in the British capital London . With 80,126,320 passengers in 2018, it is the largest airport in Europe and the seventh largest in the world . Heathrow serves as a hub for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic .
Beginnings and World War II
The history of London Heathrow Airport goes back to the 1930s, when Fairey Aviation operated an airfield called Great Western Aerodrome and mainly carried out test flights there. The main airport at that time was Croydon Airport . Fairey had bought the land from the parish priest in the nearby village of Harmondsworth.
In 1944 the Ministry of Aviation confiscated the site and demolished the small hamlet of Heath Row the following year (which was roughly where Terminal 3 is today). Harold Balfour , then Undersecretary of State for Aviation, wrote in 1973 in his autobiography Wings over Westminster that he had deliberately deceived the relevant government commission. He pretended the land expropriation was necessary to convert Heathrow into an air base for long-range bombers to fly missions in Japan. In fact, Balfour always intended to use the site for a civil airport. He used the Second World War as a pretext to expropriate the land quickly, thereby avoiding a lengthy approval process with public hearings. The Royal Air Force never used the site, which was taken over by the Department of Civil Aviation on January 1, 1946. The first passenger plane flew on that day - the destination was Buenos Aires .
Post-war period and privatization
On May 31, 1946, the airport was completely opened to civil aviation. A year later there were already three runways, and three more were being built. The older runways were short and crossed each other to allow flights in all possible wind conditions. In 1953, Queen Elisabeth II laid the foundation stone for the first modern asphalt runway, and in 1955 she also opened the first terminal, the "Europa Building" (now Terminal 2). Shortly afterwards the “Oceanic Terminal” (Terminal 3) was added. Terminal 1 completed the central group of buildings in 1968.
The fact that the older terminals were built in the center of the airport site proved to be an obstacle to further expansion. This bad planning was based on the assumption that only wealthy people could afford a flight. For this reason, extensive parking garages were considered unnecessary, since the passengers would be driven by chauffeurs. In 1977 the Piccadilly Line of London Underground was extended to Heathrow. Terminal 4 was opened in 1986 on the southern edge of the airport site. In 1987 the British government privatized the airport operator British Airports Authority (now Heathrow Airport Holdings ).
Operation of the Concorde
London, along with Paris and New York, the world's busiest airports, was one of Concorde's main destinations . The Atlantic crossing between London and New York only took three to three and a half hours. The route was operated twice a day. The planes operated between 1976 and 2003. A British Airways Concorde covered the route from New York to London in just under 3 hours in 1996. This set a new record for an Atlantic crossing that still holds.
21st century and completion of Terminal 5
On August 10, 2006, the airport was the focus of a planned terrorist action that was uncovered and prematurely thwarted by the British secret service MI5 and the Metropolitan Police Service . During the attack, liquid explosives disguised as shampoo, contact lens liquid , etc. should be brought on board several passenger aircraft.
In 2007, the airport came under fire for its standards, which were criticized by British Airways, among others. The main points of criticism were the slow security checks, insufficient number of seats and the restriction of hand luggage to only one piece per person.
On March 14, 2008, Terminal 5 was opened in an official ceremony by Elizabeth II. Terminal 5 construction costs totaled £ 4.3 billion. Terminal 5 cannot expand Heathrow's capacity as the airport was originally only designed for 30 million passengers a year and the runways are a limitation. However, it will accept around 30 million passengers per year from other terminals. Flight operations have been taking place there since March 27th.
The airport operator announced in February 2013 that it would increase the fees from 2013 to 2018 by six percent annually in order to finance investments in the billions. The usage fee would increase from the current £ 19.33 to £ 27.30 per passenger. Heathrow is one of the most expensive airports in the world.
Modernization and expansion plans
In the meanwhile aging Terminals 1, 2 and 3, which were housed together in the central building, extensive renovation and modernization work took place at the beginning of the 21st century, some of which led to considerable impairment for passengers. Often, however, it simply became apparent that the airport had been operating at its capacity limit for years. In a master plan for the airport, various options for building new terminals and an additional runway in the north of the previous site were outlined. The construction of this third runway was approved by the British government in October 2016 after lengthy discussions and protests from residents. However, due to renewed criticism of the expansion plans, including from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan , the new building is not yet considered a done deal. In June 2018, the British Parliament voted with a clear majority for the expansion plans. Nevertheless, the project remains extremely controversial due to its environmental impact , namely the expected increases in aircraft noise and CO 2 emissions. Environmental protection organizations filed a lawsuit because the expansion of the airport ran counter to British climate protection commitments under the Paris Agreement . Local authorities and London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined the lawsuit. The claim was upheld in the second instance.
The plans for the complete closure of Heathrow Airport and the construction of a new airport at the Thames estuary, which were also being considered in the meantime, were declared to have failed in 2014. As early as 2008, the then London Mayor Boris Johnson had spoken out in favor of such a solution, and Transport Minister Justine Greening of the Cameron government also favored this proposal. On July 15, 2013, Johnson officially presented the plans. Accordingly, the relocation of the airport could have created a new residential area with 100,000 apartments for up to 250,000 people. This alone would have required government funding of £ 15 billion. The new airport in the east of the city with four runways would have cost at least an additional £ 25 billion, and Norman Foster's existing design would have cost around £ 50 billion. It was also discussed whether to expand Gatwick or Stansted Airport to become the new main airport instead of building a new one.
In the meantime, the airport operator has implemented a master plan which, in addition to the construction of the third runway, provides for the gradual demolition of the old terminals in order to make space for corresponding new buildings. In autumn 2010 Terminal 2 was first torn down and replaced by a new building by June 2014. The next step was to demolish Terminal 1, which was closed in June 2015, in order to allow the capacity of the new Terminal 2 to be expanded. Apart from the dismantling of a few piers and connecting buildings, the terminal building has not yet been torn down (as of 2019).
In the long term, it is also possible to build Terminal 6, which could expand the airport's capacity to 115 million passengers per year.
Airlines and Destinations
Heathrow Airport is served by around 100 airlines. There are flight connections to all continents and to almost all regions of the world. The busiest routes from the airport are to New York , Dubai , Dublin , Amsterdam and Paris . Almost 15% of the route destinations are in the USA , followed by Brazil, Italy and Spain. In total, Heathrow flies to around 380 airports in over 120 countries. Around 40% of the handled passengers flew to Europe in 2009, around 7% domestically and 23% to North America; further long-haul destinations were approached by 30%. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic , which offer the largest number of routes, operate their home bases at Heathrow Airport. British Airways serves almost 16% and Virgin Atlantic 5% of Heathrow's routes.
On March 18, 2008, London Heathrow became the first European airport to be served by the Airbus A380 in scheduled service. In addition, ten of the 13 first A380 customers said they would fly to London.
Heathrow Airport has a 3,902 meter long runway and a second 3,660 meter long runway . Both tracks run parallel in an east-west direction. The former third runway, running diagonally to the two main runways, was partially dismantled and is now used as a taxiway .
Usually, with a few exceptions, one of the east-west runways is used for take-offs and the other for landings. Out of consideration for the residents, when the wind is blowing from the west, the lanes are changed in the early afternoon, i.e. the runway that was used for take-offs in the morning is used for landings for the rest of the day (and vice versa). This change does not take place in the case of wind from the east.
Around 500,000 take-offs and landings take place at Heathrow every year; this means that the railways are used to capacity at 99 percent. The calculated capacity of the airport of 75 million passengers per year only relates to the ground handling installed at the terminals. It can only be achieved by increasing the number of passengers per aircraft (degree of utilization and aircraft size).
On March 25, 2009, the airport put the world's first MLS ( microwave landing system) according to Category IIIb (decision height below 15 meters and visibility at least 75 meters) into operation. The system supplied by Thales for a total of around 11 million euros complements the previous, less powerful ILS ( instrument landing system ).
|09R / 27L||3,660 m||50 m||asphalt|
|09L / 27R||3,902 m||50 m||asphalt|
According to the operating company, the construction of another runway is necessary, which, however, arouses protest from residents. In May 2010, the construction of a third runway was rejected by the newly elected government under David Cameron. In reality, the expansion plans are more of a new airport, with almost a quarter of a million additional flights per year and new terminal facilities and transport infrastructure.
On July 1, 2015, a commission that had drawn up a proposal to increase the airport capacity in London recommended the construction of the third runway mentioned above in the north-west of the airport. For this, however, the place Harmondsworth would have to be relocated and a lake filled in. The government initially took the recommendation coldly and referred to the parliament's right to make decisions. The costs are estimated at the equivalent of 25 billion euros, the construction time at ten years. In October 2016, the construction of a third runway was finally approved by the British government under Prime Minister Theresa May . Immediately after the government gave its approval to the expansion plans, however, resistance rose again. London Mayor Sadiq Khan criticized that the government was ignoring the opinion of Londoners with this decision.
On June 25, 2018, the British Parliament approved the airport expansion with a clear majority. 415 parliamentarians were for the expansion and 119 against. Commissioning will possibly take place as early as 2025. The costs for the expansion are to be borne by private funds. According to media reports, around 14 billion British pounds (20.6 billion euros) is expected for the new runway. In return, the government hopes to generate tens of thousands of new jobs and a long-term economic boost of around £ 74 billion.
Heathrow expansion data
- The new Heathrow runway will be the first new runway to be built in south-east England since World War II.
- A total of 130 million passengers per year.
- A total of 740,000 aircraft movements per year.
- 52 expansion options were investigated during the Airports Commission's 2.5-year, £ 20 million process before a new Heathrow northwest runway was recommended.
Terminal 1 (closed)
Terminal 1 opened in 1968 as the third terminal building. The official opening ceremony took place in May 1969 in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II . The terminal was combined with Terminal 3 and the former Terminal 2 in the central building between the two runways. In the 1990s, the capacity was expanded by adding an additional pier (" Europier ").
After extensive renovation work had taken place at the terminal up to 2005, it was shut down on June 29, 2015 as part of the fundamental modernization of the airport in order to enable the expansion of the new Terminal 2 after the demolition. The flights previously handled at Terminal 1, which were primarily intra-European and domestic flights, have been distributed to other terminals.
Terminal 2 (The Queen's Terminal)
The original Terminal 2 was the first terminal building opened at the airport. When it opened in 1955, the building, known as the Europa Building , was designed for 1.2 million passengers a year. Like Terminals 1 and 3, which opened later, the terminal was housed in the central building.
As in Terminal 1, various renovation measures were carried out in Terminal 2 at the beginning of the 21st century. In November 2005, the operating company Heathrow Airport Holdings announced that it was thinking about demolishing the previous Terminals 1 and 2 after the completion of Terminal 5 and replacing them with a modern new building. Permission for this new building was granted in May 2007 by the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and the district parliament of the London Borough of Hillingdon , on whose territory the airport site is located.
In spring 2009 work began on creating additional parking spaces for aircraft so that the demolition of Terminal 2 can begin in the same year. The original Terminal 2 was finally demolished by autumn 2010. Almost at the same time, in July 2010, construction work began on the successor building of Terminal 2. The completion of the new terminal building was originally planned for the Summer Olympics in London in 2012 , but due to several delays in the start of construction, the new building could only be opened in June 2014. It was nicknamed The Queen's Terminal .
The terminal consists of two interconnected building parts: a 270 meter long and 200 meter wide hall (Terminal 2A) with 12 parking positions on the building and a 522 meter long satellite terminal east of it (Terminal 2B) with a further 16 positions. The two buildings were built according to plans by the architectural offices Luis Vidal + Architects and Grimshaw Architects and together have a capacity of 30 million passengers per year. After the demolition of Terminals 1 and 3, additional extensions to the Queen's Terminal are planned in the longer term . Their opening is not expected until the 2020s.
Between the main hall of the terminal and the upstream Park house designed by the British artist Richard Wilson sculpture is Slipstream (German: wake ). It is over 70 meters long and is considered the longest permanent work of art in Europe.
Terminal 3 (The Oceanic Terminal)
Today's Terminal 3 was opened on November 13, 1961 as the Oceanic Terminal and initially served as a terminal for transatlantic flights and flights to Asia. Together with the old Terminal 2 and Terminal 1, which opened seven years later, it formed the central building between the two east-west railways.
In 1968 the complex was given the current name Terminal 3. In 2006, the terminal was expanded with the opening of Pier 6 south of the main building. The construction of the satellite terminal cost £ 105 million and was necessary due, among other things, to the future handling of the Airbus A380 . In addition, all four parking positions on the pier were given a third passenger boarding bridge for use on the upper deck of the aircraft.
The terminal is to be demolished from 2019 to make space for the planned structural expansion of the new Terminal 2.
The terminal's main users are American Airlines , British Airways , Virgin Atlantic and Emirates . In addition, the majority of the flights of the Oneworld airline alliance (including Finnair , Qantas , Japan Airlines and SriLankan Airlines ) are handled here.
Terminal 4 is located on the southern edge of the airport premises, next to the freight center. This makes it the only terminal building for passenger aircraft that is not between the two runways.
The terminal was inaugurated on April 1, 1986 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana . Until the move to the new Terminal 5, Terminal 4 was mainly used for handling British Airways flights. Since 2008 the airlines of the alliance SkyTeam (including Aeroflot , Air France , Delta Air Lines and KLM ) have been using the building for intra-European and intercontinental flights. Other airlines only use the terminal sporadically. Until it was decommissioned in October 2003, the Concorde was also handled at Terminal 4.
The interior of the building was largely renovated in 2009 and 2014, and work in the arrivals area is expected to continue until 2017. In addition, the terminal was given two new parking positions each in 2009 and 2015 for handling the Airbus A380 . Terminal 4 is used by 9.2 million passengers annually.
Terminal 5 was built between 2002 and 2008 in the western part of the airport site. The architect of the building was Richard Rogers , who previously designed the Center Georges-Pompidou in Paris , the headquarters of Lloyd's of London and The O₂ in London (until 2005: Millennium Dome ).
The terminal was inaugurated on March 14, 2008 by Queen Elizabeth II ; flight operations began two weeks later. Serious technical breakdowns occurred on the day of commissioning and in the following days because the baggage handling system did not work as planned. In total, more than 245 British Airways flights had to be canceled due to the disruptions . According to the British Minister of Aviation, around 28,000 suitcases were not processed.
T5 consists of a main building 396 meters long and 176 meters wide and two satellite buildings, each 442 meters long and 42 meters wide. The domed roof of the main building weighs 18,000 tons; The lifting and assembly of the six roof segments alone took a year.
The terminal has a capacity of 30 million passengers per year. A total of 60 aircraft can be handled at the same time. The terminal is used almost exclusively by British Airways . In addition to British Airways aircraft , Airbus A380s from other airlines are also handled at Terminal 5.
T5 contains one of the largest luggage systems in the world for sorting luggage. The $ 500 million distribution system can handle up to 12,000 pieces of baggage per hour; the conveyor belts have a total length of around 18 kilometers. The system took 13 years to develop. However, since a third of all passengers now use transit traffic - i.e. stopping over, staying in the transit area of the airport and then flying on again - and baggage handling is too slow for them, there is a special system for these passengers' luggage. This includes, among other things, an early baggage storage with a capacity of 4,000 pieces of baggage and a rail system on which the baggage reaches transport speeds of up to 30 km / h by means of magnetic acceleration. To decipher the barcode of the baggage, the reading devices are equipped with several lasers in order to reduce the risk that hidden barcodes on the baggage cannot be identified or cannot be read.
In the autumn of 2009, a fully automatic passenger transport system , a so-called Personal Rapid Transit System (PRT) , was opened as a pilot project at Terminal 5 . In the first test phase, which is limited to Terminal 5, 18 cabins will initially be used. Four adults and their luggage fit into one cabin. The cabins transport passengers every three seconds from a distant long-term car park on the northwestern edge of the airport premises directly to the terminal after their flight number has been entered. The battery-powered vehicles are designed for a distance of four kilometers. Their sensors scan their surroundings a thousand times per second. If the pilot project is successful, operations will be expanded to include up to 400 cabins throughout the airport and the surrounding hotels.
Until 2006, the airport's control tower was located between Terminals 2 and 3. The tower was demolished in the meantime as part of the construction of Terminal 2 and was roughly where the parking garage in front of Terminal 2 is today is located.
In 2006 the tower used today went into operation. It is located in the center of the airport premises near the western pier 7 of Terminal 3, with which it is also connected via a corridor. The tower is 87 meters high; its construction cost a total of £ 50 million. At the top is a 27-meter-high and around 1,000-tonne glazed pulpit.
In 2008 a new type of ground penetrating radar (System Tarsier from Quinetiq) for runway monitoring went into service at the airport. It is supposed to detect foreign objects on the runways that could be dangerous for the aircraft and their engines and then display them on surveillance monitors in the tower.
In the south of the airport, next to Terminal 4, is the second largest air freight center in Europe. Due to capacity problems, several airlines relocated their cargo centers from Heathrow to Stansted and Luton in north London in the 1990s , making Frankfurt Airport the largest European cargo airport. In 2002, British Airways opened what is currently Europe's most modern freight terminal at Heathrow.
There are several aircraft yards to the east of the airport. The largest of these is operated by British Airways , which has around three quarters of its fleet here. Virgin Atlantic also has an aircraft yard in Heathrow.
The airport is located in the London Borough of Hillingdon within the M25 motorway ring. The terminals 2, 3 and 5 and the associated taxiways and aprons lie between the two runways. Terminals 2 and 3 can be reached via a six-lane tunnel from the north on the M4 motorway. There is a parking garage for short-term parking between the two terminals. Terminal 4, located in the south of the airport, can be reached via the M25. The journey to central London by taxi takes between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on traffic. National Express coaches run from Heathrow to Gatwick , Stansted and Luton Airports , as well as various English cities and Victoria Coach Station in London. There are also numerous city bus routes to the surrounding suburbs within the TfL tariff.
The Piccadilly Line of London Underground serves the three stations " Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 ", " Heathrow Terminal 4 " and " Heathrow Terminal 5 ". The drive to the city center takes around 45 minutes. Since Terminal 5 opened, there have been two routes: the trains coming from London either run through the existing single-track loop via Terminal 4 (here sometimes with waiting times of up to eight minutes) to Terminals 2 and 3 and then back to London or from London directly to Terminals 2 and 3 and then on to Terminal 5, then back via Terminals 2 and 3 to London, without going to the station at Terminal 4. A direct connection between Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 is not planned.
Two lines operate on the national rail network to Paddington Station in London: The Heathrow Express runs every quarter of an hour without stopping, the journey takes 15 minutes. The features of the Heathrow Connect also stop at the intermediate stations Hayes, Southall, Hanwell, West Ealing and Ealing Broadway (interchanges to Central Line and District Line ); it takes 25 minutes to get to Paddington. Heathrow Connect serves Terminals 2 & 3 ( Heathrow Central Station ) and then travels to Heathrow Terminal 5 Station . Instead of Heathrow Terminal 4, the Heathrow Express trains head for the new Terminal 5. For example, if you are traveling with the Heathrow Express and want to reach Terminal 4, you have to change to a shuttle train at Heathrow Central to reach the desired terminal (and vice versa). The journey between the terminals with the Piccadilly Line, the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect is basically free.
In May 2018, Heathrow Connect was taken over by the operator of the London public transport system Transport for London (TfL) and has since been used as part of the Elizabeth Line , on which Class 345 trains will then run.
Compared to other airports, Heathrow can fly to many destinations. In 2018, Heathrow ranked seventh in the list of the largest commercial airports in the world in terms of passenger volume . Heathrow is also the largest airport in Europe. Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle Airport and Amsterdam Airport will follow in second and third place in 2018 .
From the opening in 1946 to November 2016, there were 14 total aircraft losses at or in the immediate vicinity of London Heathrow Airport, including 3 aircraft parked.
- On July 25, 1947, an Avro York C.1 of the British Skyways ( aircraft registration G-AIUP ) rolled over the end of the runway after a brake failure when landing at London Heathrow Airport and came to rest around 230 meters behind it in a small river. The cause was the breakage of a cable pull after excessive wear. All 24 occupants, 7 crew members and 17 passengers survived. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
- On October 31, 1950, was Vickers Viking 1B of the British European Airways (G-AHPN) under the deliberately in heavy fog at Heathrow Airport DH flown. When the go-around attempt was unsuccessful, the machine hit the ground and exploded. Of the 30 inmates, 28 were killed.
- On September 2, 1958, the Vickers Viking G-AIJE of Independent Air Travel returned on a cargo flight to Nice about 15 minutes after taking off from London Heathrow due to engine problems. It was not possible to maintain altitude and the machine continued to sink until it hit. The three-person crew who were alone on board perished, as well as four people on the ground. The airline u. a. Inadequate maintenance by unqualified personnel, overloading and failure to allow the pilots to rest.
- On January 7, 1960, the nose landing gear of a Vickers Viscount 802 of British European Airways (BEA) (G-AOHU) collapsed after touching down at Heathrow Airport, as the captain landed on it first due to poor visibility in thick fog. The fire that broke out destroyed the entire aircraft. Nevertheless, all 59 inmates survived.
- On October 27, 1965, the Vickers Vanguard G-APEE of British European Airways crashed on the flight from Edinburgh at 1:23 night during the third attempted approach in the fog during a go-around on runway 28R. All 36 inmates were killed. The causes were u. a. Fatigue, a lack of experience and training as well as incorrect operation of the unergonomically designed landing flap levers were determined.
- On April 8, 1968 had Boeing 707-465 of British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) ( G-ARWE ) to return to the airport an engine fire after takeoff due. The engine stalled during the landing, but the fire continued. After the successful emergency landing, the pilots and flight engineers left the cockpit without going through the necessary checklists. Therefore, among other things, more and more fuel was pumped into the fire under the machine. Then the entire machine was evacuated. Of the 127 people on board, 5 were killed (see BOAC flight 712 ) .
- On July 3, 1968, an Airspeed Ambassador of the British BKS Air Transport (G-AMAD) had an accident on landing. The cargo plane carried eight horses from Deauville . Shortly before touchdown, the flap on the left wing retracted due to material fatigue, which triggered an uncontrollable rolling movement. The aircraft swerved to the left, with the wing tip touching the ground. The machine collided with two parked Hawker Siddeley HS-121 Trident and a Vickers Viscount of the BEA and then hit a terminal building. There were eight occupants on board the cargo plane, only two of whom survived the accident (see also the accident involving an Airspeed Ambassador at London Heathrow Airport ) .
- On November 26, 1983, a robbery occurred near the airport. At least six men broke into a warehouse belonging to the Brinks Mat company , overpowered the guards and removed 6,800 gold bars weighing a total of three tons and valued at 25 million pounds . Three perpetrators were later caught and sentenced to prison terms. Much of the prey has not been found to this day.
- On January 17, 2008, British Airways Flight 38 , a Boeing 777 ( G-YMMM ) coming from Beijing , crash-landed shortly before the runway due to a loss of engine power due to fuel icing . Twelve people were injured and the machine was irreparably damaged.
- Scenes for films, series and documentaries are shot regularly at Heathrow Airport. Films in which central scenes take place at the airport may include a. Indeed ... love and a fish named Wanda .
- The computer-controlled Ultra electric vehicle system has been running on its own 3.8 kilometer long track since 2009 . The 21 driverless cabs connect Terminal 5 with the parking garages. Extensions to other terminals as well as to the parking garages and hotels are planned. The development of the new transport system is supported by the EU as part of the CityMobil project .
- Extensive excavations were carried out on the site of Terminal 5 , which, among other things, uncovered a Neolithic cursus , the so-called Stanwell cursus.
- At Heathrow Airport, a tarmac used to cross a street at ground level; however, this has been closed to traffic since March 2006.
- In April 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated reduced air traffic, it was decided to temporarily only use one of the two runways. The lanes are used alternately on a weekly basis.
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