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Airport Code: LHR
Contact: +44 (0)870 000 0123
Heathrow Airport is not only the UK’s largest and busiest airport but also the second busiest in the world in terms of total passenger traffic and busiest in the world when measuring international passenger traffic and excluding domestic travel. In 2008 the airport handled 61,345,518 international passengers, more than double the figure that passed through Gatwick during the same period.
Heathrow is one of the six UK airports owned and operated by BAA and by far the biggest, spanning 5 terminals.
Terminal 1– Opened in 1968 and extensively renovated in 2005 the terminal is home to Heathrow’s second largest operator, BMI, along with airlines associated with the Star Alliance such as Air Canada, Lufthansa and United Airlines. It is due to be demolished in 2014 to be replaced by the 2nd phase of the hugely extended Terminal 2 scheduled to be completed in 2019.
Terminal 2- Opened as the Europa Building in 1955 this is Heathrow’s oldest terminal. It is currently closed and in the process of being rebuilt on a much larger scale. Although Terminal 2 was originally only designed to cope with around 1.2 million passengers a year in recent years it had to deal with figures more in the region of 8 million passengers annually. When complete the new Terminal 2 is expected to have a capacity of 30 million passengers a year and produce 40% less carbon dioxide than the buildings it replaces.
Terminal 3- Opened as The Oceanic Terminal in 1961, this terminal was intended to handle long-haul flights. Recent redevelopments have resulted in a dedicated check-in area for Virgin Atlantic, a pedestrianised plaza, a baggage system connecting it to Terminal 5, the UK’s first moving walkways and a pier specifically designed to accommodate the gigantic Airbus A380 superjumbo. Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Emirates now operate Airbus A380 services from this terminal.
Terminal 4- Opened in 1986 and extensively renovated since, this terminal accommodates 45 airlines including members of the Sky Team alliance, like Terminal 3 it has recently been upgraded to suit the Airbus A380.
Terminal 5- Opened in March 2008, Terminal 5 serves as British Airways’ global hub. The 4 storey main terminal and 2 satellite buildings cost £4.3billion and have an annual capacity of 30 million passengers. This one terminal alone features more than 100 shops and restaurants. Further expansion is already underway with even more growth initiatives in the planning stages.
Heathrow is host to an unbelievable number of retail outlets. Across the 5 terminals there are shops to suit all tastes. With fashion on offer from designers including Bulgari, Burberry, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Versace and Hugo Boss and accessories courtesy of such luminaries as Mappin & Webb, Tumi, Hermes and Cartier. Luxury goods stocked by retailers like Harrods, Caviar House & Prunier, Cocoon and Mont Blanc not mention items for the masses available from high street brands such as Marks & Spencer, Dixons Travel, Boots and HMV...shopping at Heathrow is comparable to visiting a high class mall.
As with the abundant shopping opportunities, Heathrow offers an extensive list of establishments to cater for all your dining and drinking requirements.
Terminal 1 – For a speedy snack Pret A Manger and Caffé Italia are hand, whilst those with a little more leisure time are catered for by such restaurants as Giraffe, Café Rouge and Bridge Bar and eating House. If it’s a pre-flight tipple that takes your fancy then The Tin Goose 1930’s themed pub is a great choice.
Terminal 2 – Currently Closed
Terminal 3 – Catering to all tastes with the American fare of TGI Fridays, Japanese inspired delicacies of YO! Sushi! and varied French cuisine of Chez Gérard, alongside an array of other popular chains, diners are spoilt for choice in Terminal 3. Those in more of a hurry or with a liquid lunch in mind may prefer the likes of “rhubarb”, The Globe Freehouse, Krispy Kreme and EAT.
Terminal 4 – Terminal 4 features many of the same establishments as the other terminals, such as Café Rouge, Bridge Bar and Eating House and Starbucks but also offers other great options such as Dining Street Restaurant, Garfunkel’s and Wetherspoons.
Terminal 5 – It’s hard to believe that Terminal 5 is primarily there to facilitate air travel, with 22 establishments offering food and drink there truly is something to suit everyone. From high street favourites such as Wagamama and Giraffe through to truly unique eateries such as Huxleys British brasserie and Gordon Ramsey Plane Food with its own cocktail bar and views across the runway.
Given its immense popularity and level of passenger traffic, Heathrow is served by a number of dedicated public transport services. The Heathrow Express is a non-stop train service which leaves every 15 minutes from Paddington station, whilst the Heathrow Connect service undertakes the same journey but calls at up to 5 rail stops on the way. There are also 4 tube stations serving the airport, with the standard journey time from the stop serving Terminals 1,2 and 3 to Central London coming in at 40-50minutes.
Alongside the rail links there are also extensive bus and coach services connecting all of the terminals to a long list of local and not so local locations.
Disabled toilets are generally located within nearby or within the regular toilets.
Omniserve provide special assistance to passengers at Heathrow Airport. Passengers are advised to inform Omniserve and their airline at least 48 hours before flying if they require special assistance for their journey. Porters are also on hand to help with luggage if a passenger is struggling.
There are reserved seating areas specifically for disabled people throughout the airport. Induction loops are also available in various locations within the terminals.
Aviation first came to the Heathrow site during World War I, when the area was used as a military airfield. In the 1930’s it was developed as the Great Western Aerodrome and under the ownership of the Fairey Aviation Company was used for aircraft building and testing. Despite coming under the control of the Air Ministry in 1943 it was never used by the Royal Air Force: as runway construction didn’t begin until 1944. Control was handed over to the Ministry of Civil Aviation in January of 1946 and after sporadic arrivals and departures, the airport opened fully to the public in May that year.
Construction of the modern runway commenced in 1953, with Queen Elizabeth II laying the first slab. During the course of the 1950s and’60s the airport grew, by 1968 it was handling 14 million passengers a year.
By the early 1980s growth had increased such that passenger numbers reached 30 million a year, supported by an improved transport structure for access to the airport. This consistent expansion in conjunction with the increased popularity and affordability of air travel has resulted in the incredible passenger volumes we see passing through Hea throw in the modern day.
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