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Heathrow - flats and houses to rent with Black Katz, London's largest lettings only agency., rent a flat in London


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London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow (IATA: LHR, ICAO: EGLL), located in London, England, is the largest and busiest airport in the United Kingdom. It is the world's third busiest airport for passenger traffic and it handles more international passenger traffic than any other airport in the world. Heathrow is owned and operated by BAA, which also owns and operates six other UK airports. BAA is itself owned by an international consortium led by the Spanish Ferrovial Group. Heathrow is the primary hub of British Airways, BMI and Virgin Atlantic.

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Located 15 miles (24 km) west of Central London, England, Heathrow has two parallel main runways running east-west and five terminals. The site covers 12.14 square kilometres (4.69 square miles). Terminal 5 was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 14 March 2008 and opened to passengers on 27 March 2008. Construction of Heathrow East, to replace Terminal 2 and The Queen's Building, began in 2008, and is expected to be completed by 2012. Terminals 3 and 4 will also be refurbished during this period. In November 2007 a consultation process began for the building of a new third runway.

Heathrow Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P527) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction.


Heathrow is located 15 miles (24 km) west of central London, England, near the southern end of the London Borough of Hillingdon and in the historic county of Middlesex. The airport stands on a parcel of land that was designated part of the London Metropolitan Green Belt. To the north, the airport is surrounded by the built-up areas of Harlington, Harmondsworth, Longford and Cranford.

To the east are Hounslow and Hatton, and to the south are East Bedfont and Stanwell. To the west, the M25 motorway separates the airport from Colnbrook in Berkshire.

The airport's location to the west of London, and the east-west orientation of its runways, means that airliners usually approach to land directly over the city. Other leading European airports, such as those at Madrid, Frankfurt and Paris, are located north or south of their cities, in order to minimise the overflying problem. Another disadvantage of the site is that it is low-lying, at 83 feet (25 m) above sea level, and is therefore prone to fog.

Heathrow is one of six airports serving the London area, along with Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Southend and City although only Heathrow and City Airports are located within Greater London.

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Terminal 1

Terminal 1 was opened in 1968 and was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II in May 1969. In 2005, a substantial redesign and redevelopment of Terminal 1 was completed, which saw the opening of the new Eastern Extension, doubling the departure lounge in size and creating additional seating and retail space. Terminal 1 handles most of Heathrow's domestic and Irish routes along with some long haul routes and European routes.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 is Heathrow's oldest terminal and was opened as the Europa Building in 1955. Terminal 2, as well as the adjacent Queens Building, will close in 2008 after the opening of Terminal 5, to allow for the construction of the new Heathrow East terminal. According to BAA, Terminal 2 will be demolished in 2008. Terminal 2 handles mainly European routes.

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 was opened as The Oceanic Terminal on 13 November 1961 to handle flight departures for long-haul routes. At this time the airport had a direct helicopter service to Central London from the gardens on the roof of the terminal building. The Oceanic Terminal was renamed as Terminal 3 in 1968 and was expanded in 1970 with the addition of an arrivals building. Other facilities were also added, including the UK's first moving walkways. In 2006, the new £105 million Pier 6 was completed in order to accommodate the Airbus A380 superjumbo; both Singapore Airlines and Emirates now operate regular flights from Terminal 3 using the Airbus A380.

Redevelopment of Terminal 3's forecourt by the addition of a new four lane drop-off area and a large pedestrianised plaza, complete with canopy to the front of the terminal building was completed in 2007; these improvements were intended to improve passengers' experiences, reduce traffic congestion and improve security. BAA also have plans for a £1bn upgrade of the rest of the terminal over the next ten years.

Terminal 4

Terminal 4 was constructed to the south of the southern runway next to the existing cargo terminal, away from the three older terminals, and was connected with Terminals 1, 2 and 3 by the already-existing Heathrow Cargo Tunnel. Terminal 4 was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales in April 1986, and became the home for then newly-privatised British Airways.

The terminal was initially designed to be a facility for short-haul 'point-to-point' traffic in order to compensate for its distance away from, and location outside of, the central terminal area (CTA). The layout of the terminal, with passenger boarding gates very close to the checkin and security halls was designed to facilitate moving passengers through the building at speed (a requirement for short-haul, business-focused flights). At the time, Terminal 3 was a more appropriate facility for long haul flights.

However, Lord King, then Chairman of British Airways, demanded that Terminal 4 be solely for the use of British Airways in order to fulfil the airline's ambition of hosting all of its flights in one terminal (an ambition that has still not been realised even with the opening of Terminal 5 in 2008). A similar demand was made of the North Terminal at Gatwick.

As a consequence, Terminal 4's distance from the CTA and design were ill suited for British Airways' long-haul operations and could be seen as a contributor to the airline's dire operational performance, particularly in the years up to Terminal 5's opening in 2008. For example, passengers had to transfer between Terminal 4 and the CTA by bus rather than more reliable moving walkways (as between Terminals 1 and 3 for example) and once inside Terminal 4, the gate areas are not large enough for the 400+ passengers waiting to board the waiting 747s. Passenger's baggage also had to make the trip by van, often resulting in loss, although this problem was somewhat alleviated in the late 1990s by the construction of an automated transfer tunnel between the CTA and Terminal 4.

Following the transfer of most of British Airways' flights to Terminal 5 during 2008, Terminal 4 is undergoing a £200m upgrade to enable it to accommodate 45 airlines and serve as the base for the SkyTeam alliance. The forecourt has been upgraded to reduce traffic congestion and improve security. An extended check-in area will open in late 2009, and piers and departure lounges are being rennovated. Two new stands to accommodate the Airbus A380 are being constructed, and a new baggage system is being installed.

Terminal 5

The possibility of a fifth terminal at Heathrow emerged as early as 1982, when there was debate over whether the expansion of Stansted or the expansion of Heathrow (advocated by BA) was the way forward for the UK aviation industry. Richard Rogers was selected to design the terminal in 1989 and BAA formally announced its proposal for T5 in May 1992, submitting a formal planning application on 17 February 1993. A public inquiry into the proposals began on 16 May 1995 and lasted nearly four years, finally ending after sitting for 525 days on 17 March 1999. Finally on 20 November 2001, more than eight years after the initial planning application, then-transport minister Stephen Byers announced the British government's decision to grant planning permission for the building of a fifth passenger terminal at Heathrow.

Terminal 5 under construction in July 2006Built at a cost of £4.3 billion, the new terminal is located on the western side of the airport on the site of the former Perry Oaks sewage works, between the northern and southern runways. The four storeys of the main terminal building (Concourse A) are covered by a single-span undulating steel frame roof, stretching 90 metres (295 ft) from east to west. In addition to the main terminal building, there are also two satellite buildings linked to the main terminal by an underground people mover transit system. The first satellite (Concourse B) includes dedicated aircraft stands for the Airbus A380; Concourse C is currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2010. In total, Terminal 5 has 60 aircraft stands and capacity for 30 million passengers annually. There are more than 100 shops and restaurants.

The transport network around the airport has been extended to cope with the increase in passenger numbers. A dedicated motorway spur has been built from the M25 between junctions 14 and 15 to the terminal, which includes a 3,800 space multi-storey car park. A more distant long-stay car park for business passengers will be linked to the terminal by a personal rapid transit system, which will open in 2009. New branches of both the Heathrow Express and the Underground's Piccadilly Line serve a new shared Heathrow Terminal 5 station, which also has space for a third pair of tracks for future additional rail services. BAA are currently consulting on the route of a new rail link, called Heathrow Airtrack, to Staines High Street and through direct services to Reading, Guildford and London Waterloo. The terminal is also connected to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 by the Heathrow Airside Road Tunnel.

Queen Elizabeth II officially opened Terminal 5 in a ceremony on 14 March 2008. Used exclusively by British Airways, the terminal opened for passenger use on 27 March 2008, with flight 26 from Hong Kong its first arrival. The first departure was Flight 302 to Paris at 06:20 GMT. However it quickly became apparent that the new terminal was not operating smoothly, and British Airways cancelled 34 flights and was later forced to suspend baggage check-in. Over the following 10 days some 28,000 bags failed to travel with their owners, and over 500 flights were cancelled. British Airways was not able to operate its full schedule from Terminal 5 until 8 April 2008 and had to postpone the transfer of its long-haul flights from Terminal 4 to Terminal 5. The difficulties were later blamed on a number of problems with the terminal's IT systems, coupled with insufficient testing and staff training. In November 2008 the House of Commons Transport Committee said the opening had shown "serious failings" by British Airways and BAA.

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Public transport  

  • Heathrow Express: a non-stop service directly to London's Paddington station; trains leave every 15 minutes for the 15-minute journey, either from Terminal 5 or Heathrow Central (Terminals 1, 2, 3). Passengers transferring between these two stations on the Heathrow Express may use the service free of charge.
  • Heathrow Connect: a service to Paddington calling at up to five National Rail stations en route - trains leave every 30 minutes for the 25-minute journey. Heathrow Connect services use Heathrow Central station (Terminals 1, 2, 3) and terminate at Terminal 4 - passengers transferring between these two stations at Heathrow may use the service free of charge.
  • London Underground Piccadilly line: four tube stations serve the airport - Terminals 1, 2, 3; Terminal 4; Terminal 5 and Hatton Cross. The standard journey time from the Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 tube station to Central London is 40-50 minutes.
  • Long-distance coach services operated by National Express to various parts of the UK, including Victoria Coach Station in London.
  • A door-to-door London hotel shuttle bus service is operated by Dot2Dot from each terminal, and HotelHoppa buses connect each terminal with hotels in the Heathrow area.
  • There are two RailAir coach services connecting nearby railway stations with the airport using dedicated non-stop coaches. These run to:
    Reading railway station, connecting with railway services to the West Country, South Wales, Midlands and south coast of England
  • Woking railway station, for places in Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire
  • Heathrow Airport has one of the United Kingdom's biggest bus stations, with many local bus services (Transport for London) to nearby London suburbs.
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Heathrow is accessible via the nearby M4 motorway and A4 road (Terminals 1–3), the M25 motorway (Terminals 4 and 5), and the A30 road (Terminal 4). There are drop off and pick up areas at all terminals and short and long stay multi-storey car parks. Additionally, there are car parks (not run by BAA) just outside the airport, these are connected to the terminals by shuttle buses. Heathrow airport is also served by taxi services.

Four parallel tunnels under one of the runways connect the M4 motorway and the A4 road to Terminals 1–3. The two larger tunnels are each two lanes wide and are used for motorised traffic. The two smaller tunnels were originally reserved for pedestrians and bicycles; to increase traffic capacity the cycle lanes have been modified to each take a single lane of cars, although bicycles still have priority over cars. Pedestrian access to the smaller tunnels has been discontinued, with the free bus services being the alternative.


There are (mainly off-road) bicycle routes to some of the terminals.  But despite it's recent construction there are no cycle routes connecting to Terminal 5. Free bicycle parking places are available in car parks 1 and 1A.

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  • Published: 12/01/2009 11:27:15 A
  • Category: Ealing