Heathrow Airport: Britain’s Gateway to the World

This is an informational sponsored guest post about Heathrow Airport in London, England.  I’ve flown through Heathrow and it is an impressive hub for air travel.

Heathrow Airport is one of the largest and most well used international airports in the UK.  With flights departing day and night 7 days a week it is the first name many people think of when considering an airport to fly out of.  Following the opening of terminal 5 in 2008, both its capacity and popularity have grown.  In a very central location within London it is easy to get to from anywhere in the country with direct transport routes by tube, bus and train leading directly into the airport and there are many places to book an overnight stay in Heathrow before or after a flight with flexible check-in times.

Heathrow serves 193 destinations across the globe, spread across 90 countries, so it is no surprise that the airport is a household name.  It is used by 86 airlines each serving their own group of countries and routes and people fly in and out of Heathrow throughout the day and night to the four corners of the globe.  The most popular destinations for flights from Heathrow have not changed in the past 6 years.  These are New York (JFK), Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.  The majority of those travelling to the first two of those locations are business passengers who tend to be frequent fliers and make up a high proportion of Heathrow’s passenger count per day.

Heathrow Airport has its own micro-economy, with its own shops, own food retailers and employing a total of 76,500 staff beneath its roof, it’s a huge asset to the city of London.  The airport fell under criticism following the opening of Terminal 5 in 2008 when teething problems when it opened prevented the smooth running of that side.  However when you consider that 190,100 passengers pass through Heathrow each day, the logistics of opening, maintaining and controlling an extra Terminal seem impossible.  Recent reports have seen that the early problems experienced with terminal 5 are a thing of the past, with everything operating as it should and with terminal 5 even winning the SkyTrax best airport award for 2013.

The 1227 hectare facility is current undergoing another huge development, this time with the redevelopment of Terminal 2.  The project is due for completion next year and will include a new building, a satellite pier, a brand new multi-story car park, and the complete redevelopment of the airports central road system.  This mammoth work started in 2010 with the demolition of the old terminal.  The old building had very limited natural light and was cramped so the new terminal has been designed to improve customer experience at Heathrow and make conditions for staff nicer and easier to work in.

Many of us will pass through an airport without giving a second thought to the organisation that goes into the running of it.  Next time you visit Heathrow, look around at how many people there are to get to their target destination, and you thought remembering your passport at 5am was a challenge!

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