Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is the UK’s only hub, and as such is key for the country’s transport network. In addition to being Europe’s largest airport in terms of passenger traffic and one of the largest in the world, Heathrow is the largest freight port in the United Kingdom, handling over 25% of total exports by value.

  • 84 airlines
  • 203 destinations
  • 81 M passengers/year
  • 475,600 flights/year

More than 84 million passengers fly from Heathrow every year to more than 203 destinations. It’s no surprise that dozens of airlines operate from this airport.

Heathrow is the UK’s only hub, and as such is key for the country’s transport network. In addition to being Europe’s largest airport in terms of passenger traffic and one of the largest in the world, Heathrow is the largest freight port in the United Kingdom, handling over 25% of total exports by value.

T2, one of the largest construction contracts in UK history

Ferrovial Airports is especially proud of Terminal 2, also known as The Queen’s Terminal, which was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in June 2014.

The terminal, designed by the Spanish architect Luis Vidal, was built by Ferrovial in a consortium with Laing O’Rourke. The construction involved 210,000 m2 footprint between the terminal and the satellite building – equivalent to 25 football fields and a €3 billion investment, created 35,000 jobs and posed a significant challenge to the airport’s management team.

Nevertheless, we completed the job in five years and seven months, and finished it ahead of schedule without any disruption to airport operations. Before we opened Terminal 2, we tested it thoroughly. During the preceding six months we ran more than 180 million tests to be sure that check-in and countless other terminal processes worked perfectly. We also ran a series of simulations to see how the terminal worked for passengers. 14,000 people took part in these simulations, the largest of which involved more than 3,000 volunteers in a single event. Even though construction took place at the heart of Heathrow, it had no effect on passengers. Not one accident or disruptive incident was recorded during the 5-million-plus hours of construction.

The Terminal 2 project also included the construction of a satellite terminal, all the supporting access roads, larger parking to welcome new-generation aircraft and a new air-conditioned railway station. It was one of the UK’s largest-ever construction projects financed by a private company. This new-generation, green building replaced an older terminal that had been operating since 1955. With a capacity for 20 million passengers a year, the new Terminal 2 can fly two-and-a-half times as many people as its predecessor.

Apart from being a superb modern facility that simplifies the flow of passengers, luggage and aircraft, it’s also environmentally efficient, actually, it became the first facility of its kind to receive BREEAM environmental certification. In addition to recycling 100% of the waste from the demolition of the former terminal, the infrastructure has an energy-efficient centre running on renewable energy. This facility regulates air conditioning, which, together with the use of efficient construction materials and a roof that makes the most of natural light, helped to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 40.5% compared to the previous building.

As a result of exemplary project execution and excellent operational results, Heathrow has won numerous awards lately, such as the ‘World’s Best Airport Terminal’ by Skytrax World Airport Awards in several occasions.

Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5

Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5, which opened in March 2008, was one of Europe’s largest and most complex construction projects. Despite the complexity involved, it was delivered on time and on budget, with an outstanding safety record. Designed by renowned architect Lord Rogers, the terminal is home to British Airways, and is made up of three buildings: the main terminal building, T5, and two satellite buildings, Terminals 5B and 5C.

The main terminal is designed in a way that makes passenger flow intuitive, allowing walking distances to be short despite the building’s large size. In addition to the main terminal buildings, the project includes 60 new aircraft stands, an underground station, a multi-storey car park, new access to the motorway and 13 km of tunnels, amongst other facilities.

Sustainability and innovation are key concerns for Ferrovial, and this can be clearly seen in the Terminal 5 project, which is a benchmark for sustainable construction and design on a global level. The issue of ventilation, which all airports face due to air and noise pollution from aircraft, has been solved by designing the terminal in such a way as to reduce the building’s heat gain, while using a displacement air-conditioning and ventilation system.

Construction of the world’s largest integrated baggage system at Heathrow

When Heathrow decided to develop this pioneering centralised baggage handling system, no other airport in the world had considered before the possibility of building an underground circuit beneath operational terminals. Heathrow’s Western Interface Building (WIB), which connects T5 and T3, and Terminal 3 Integrated Baggage (T3IB) are the two main installations that give shape to the world’s largest integrated baggage system.

The WIB installation consist of 1.2 km tunnel that traverses the inner depths of the airport between T3 and T5, becoming the longest inter-terminal transfer tunnel in Europe.

Ferrovial Agroman in partnership with Heathrow and with Mott MacDonald leading the design, developed an outstanding project in terms of construction as it was executed with the airport operating normally and it was completed in record time and with exceptional safety standards, without a single incident recorded during the more than one million hours required for its construction.

The system has a capacity to simultaneously process up to 7,200 pieces of luggage per hour and is capable of moving bags at speeds up to 700 metres/minute between terminals.

Since it came into operation, this new centralized baggage handling concept based on new technologies has given great results. It has increased efficiency at Heathrow, reducing incidents of mislaid or delayed luggage. It has also resulted in better working conditions for workers in this area who now lift 12 million less pieces of luggage every year thanks to this system.

With regards to sustainability, all the materials removed during the construction phase were recycled and the system has significantly reduced the amount of baggage-handling vehicle traffic on the airport apron, replacing a total of 120,000 journeys each year and exponentially reducing the corresponding emissions.

Heathrow’s integrated baggage system is one of the many innovative projects being carried out by Ferrovial Airports to improve the passenger experience and create more intelligent, efficient, profitable and sustainable airports. This work at Heathrow has received numerous awards in the sector including the 2015 Eco-Innovation award presented by ACI Europe or the 2019 World’s Best Airport Terminal and 2019 Best Terminal in Western Europe awards presented every year by Skytrax.

2020 Commitment to sustainability

With a view to maximising Heathrow’s financial benefits and managing its environmental responsibilities, a series of sustainability policies are being implemented over the coming years. Some of the most significant are as follows:

  • Reducing vehicle emissions: Heathrow already has one of the largest corporate electric vehicle fleets in the UK and the highest density charging infrastructure in Europe.
  • Noise reduction: As part of our voluntary Quiet Night Charter, by 2022, we mean to at least halve the number of flights operating late, after 11:30pm, on nondisrupted days.
  • Air quality and reduction of CO2: Heathrow aims to be carbon neutral by 2020. To do so, it has begun a series of initiatives, like the establishment of an airside ultra-low emissions zone by 2025, to improve quality of life through cleaner air. Also, the airport aims for 50% of passenger journeys to be made by public and sustainable transport by 2030, supporting the policy of no more airport-related cars on the road, so local areas can thrive without increased congestion.
  • Leaders in the industry: Heathrow has opened Centres of Excellence for sustainability at several airports and in the wider aviation sector.

General information

Project
Heathrow Airport
Location
London, United Kingdom.
Airlines
84
Destinations
204
Passenger/year
81 million