Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport, 15 miles from central London, is regarded as the hub of the aviation world.

  • 84 airlines
  • 184 destinations
  • 72.3M passengers/year
  • 469,552 flights/year

Two-thirds of the United Kingdom’s long-haul flights depart from Heathrow, including the UK’s only direct air links to emerging world cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai, and Sao Paulo. And it’s not just passengers flying in and out of the world’s busiest international airport; more than half of all the UK’s air freight passes through Heathrow.

The T2A project included designing and building the new terminal, aprons and stands for aircraft, the connection with the T2 satellite building, the access road, a new cooling plant, and all related services.

The terminal is part of the process of upgrading the airport’s infrastructure, involving an investment of 11 billion pounds (13.5 billion euro), making Heathrow airport one of the world’s most innovative infrastructures, capable of handling over 20 million passengers per year, with 200,000 square metres of floor space and 45,000 square metres of roof.

Among the awards it has received are the Gold Award from Rospa (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), the Health and Safety Award at the Constructing Excellence in London and the South East awards 2013, and the Green Apple 2013 award.

Heathrow’s new Terminal 2

After more than 60 years of operation, Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2 was demolished and replaced with a brand new building. The new terminal is the home of the Star Alliance, offering extraordinary runway views and brand new accommodation for new-generation aircraft.

On check-in, the 30 million passengers each year enjoy access the latest in self-service technology and fast bag drops, getting their journey off to a smooth start.

Heathrow’s newest departure lounge is a bright and modern space, with ten-metre high windows and north-facing skylights. Passengers can relax and enjoy natural light in a building that will produce 40% less carbon than those it replaces.

The new terminal encompasses a floor space of 185,000m2, extending into the existing Terminal 1 site.

Terminal 5

Opened on 27 March 2008, Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 was one of Europe’s largest and most complex construction projects. It was completed on time and on budget, with an outstanding safety record.

Home to British Airways, Terminal 5 consists of three main buildings; the main terminal building and two satellites, Terminal 5B and Terminal 5C.

The main terminal has a natural directional flow; departing passengers walk the width of the building from check in to gate and arriving passengers wak the reverse. This means that even though the terminal is very large, walking distances are very short.

In addition to the main terminal buildings, the overal project included 60 new aircraft stands, an underground rail station, a 3,800 space multi-story car park, a new spur road from the nearby motorway and 13km of bored tunnels. A new air traffic control tower was also required to be built at the airport.

Sustainability formed a key part of the Terminal 5 project. Waste heat from the terminal power plant is used to satisfy 85% of heat demand, saving 11,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. Intelligent lights adjust to the level required and escalators and baggage systems slow down when not in use.

Engineering the World’s Largest Integrated Transfer Baggage System

Ferrovial Agroman, in partnership with BAA and Mott MacDonald, has now completed a 2.1km tunnel running between Terminals 5, 3 and 1, a vital link in Heathrow Airport’s new integrated transfer baggage system to create the largest such system in the world, and one which will greatly enhance the experience of passengers and airline customers.

Since Heathrow is the world’s busiest international hub airport, avoiding disruption to airport operations was paramount. A massive risk management and mitigation process was undertaken with painstaking contingency planning to ensure none of the 268 services and structures at risk from the tunnel was adversely affected.

More than 30 major stakeholders were required to give their approval to the project, including those responsible for assets such as the Heathrow Express and Piccadilly Line tunnels, fuel, gas and water mains, fuel tanks, fibre optics, power cables, aircraft guidance, live stands, taxiways, terminal buildings and bridges. In spite of being deemed 2009’s number one risk to Heathrows operations, the tunnel was completed with zero impact on the airport.

This project is a clear example of the innovation taking place all around the group. No company has ever before attempted construction of an underground link between five live airport terminal buildings. Changes in tunnel alignment also created the need for further innovation. To mitigate risk to the road tunnel which offers the only access to three terminals, the course of the tunnel was modified during the project.

Always one of the most important aspects of a project of this magnitude, the safety record on this construction project has been truly outstanding and signifies a record for Heathrow Airport. There were no reported accidents in over 1,172,430 man hours, which was achieved thanks to a stringent approach towards safety management, strong site controls and continuous improvement in health and safety standards.

All materials removed by construction have been recycled, with the gravel recycled as backfill and 100,000m3 of clay reused as lining for local landfill sites. The transfer baggage system will substantially reduce airside surface traffic, replacing 60,000 vehicle movements and their emissions annually.


  • Heathrow Express is one of the most successful high-speed airport rail links in the world. It boasts customer satisfaction scores of more than 97% and a reliability score of over 99%. The company has improved the customer experience by introducing new services, such as the launch of free WiFi Internet, e-ticketing, Onboard Express TV, self-service check-in and flight information screens located at Paddington Railway Station. Passengers can also benefit from the first video wall in Europe: 450 screens installed in the tunnels which broadcast 15-second advertisements and which have become an experience that is part of the journey for passengers as well as a source of revenues.
  • Heathrow Connect opened in 2005, registered an increase of 25% in the number of passengers in 2009 compared with the previous year, to total more than 600,000. The number of carriages has been increased from four to five due to the increased demand and the extension of the service to Heathrow’s Terminal 4.

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General information

Heathrow Airport
London, United Kingdom.
72.3 million

Related links

Heathrow's website