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.

  • 81 airlines
  • 204 destinations
  • 78 M passengers/year
  • 474,033 flights/year

More than 75 million passengers fly from Heathrow every year to more than 194 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.

Heathrow Airport´s Terminal 2

After more than 60 years in operation, Heathrow Airport’s old Terminal 2 was replaced with a brand new building which reopened to the public on 4 June 2014. This new facility offers excellent views of the runway and plenty of space for new-generation aircraft. Terminal services include the latest trends in technology, with state-of-the-art baggage handling and self-service check-in.

The terminal is part of a wider project for improving overall airport infrastructure, with a total investment of over £11 billion (13.5 billion Euros),  making Heathrow Airport one of the most innovative infrastructures in the world, with over 75 million passengers per year. It has a floor space of 200,000 m2; the roof  spans an area of 45,000 m2.

The project has received numerous awards, including the South East Construction Excellence Award, and the Gold RoSpa Occupational Health and Safety Award for good practices in accident prevention. It is also the first airport in the world to obtain BREEAM certification.

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.

Integrated baggage system

Ferrovial Agroman, in partnership with BAA and with Mott MacDonald leading the design, has built a 2.1 km tunnel connecting terminals 5, 3 and 1 to create the world’s largest integrated baggage system, thus enhancing passenger and airline customer experience at Heathrow.

This project is a clear example of innovation, as it was the first attempt ever to build an underground link between five terminals, all of which were fully operational at the time. To ensure the success of the project, a comprehensive plan was drawn up to manage and minimise risk and plan for possible contingencies. The outcome as regards safety was outstanding and a record for Heathrow, with zero accidents in more than 1,228,680 man hours of work. This was the result of rigorous safety management and stringent controls throughout the duration of the works.

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. 10 % of airport’s vehicle fleet is electric, making it one of the largest electric fleets in Europe. Further progress will be made in the future in this respect.
  • Classification of waste. In order to manage the waste produced by the 200,000 passengers transiting the airport every day, Heathrow is carrying out a waste analysis, with the aim of setting in place new processes for reaching the target of 70 % waste recycling by 2020. Of note is the fact that 100 % of cooking oil waste from the airport is recycled; 85 % of this is reprocessed into biodiesel.
  • Energy Centre. The Heathrow Energy Centre provides heating and cooling for both Terminal 2 and Terminal 5 through a 10MW biomass combined heat and power plant. It is one of the largest biomass initiatives of its type in the UK, and further work is foreseen in the coming years.
  • Quieter planes pay less to land in Heathrow. As an incentive for airlines to use more modern, quieter aircraft, the airport offers a 15% discount.
  • CO2 The Aircraft on the Ground CO2 Reduction programme, launched by the Association of Airport Operators (AAO) aims to reduce CO2 emissions from aircraft.
  • Turning old buildings into new through waste. Reconstruction works on T2 recycled more than 99 % of demolition waste, and this initiative will be continued in the coming years.


Autonomous vehicles: transport of the future

Initiative driven by the airport to promote the use of autonomous vehicles in an airport setting.

  • 3.8 km Dedicated track
  • 100 t of CO2/year Reduction
  • 15 Passengers
  • 45 km/h Safe speeds

autonomous vehicle heathrow

Over the last ten years, Heathrow Airport has actively supported academic research and technological innovation in the field of autonomous vehicles. Indeed, Heathrow already uses the PODs which connect the airport parking with Terminal 5 through a dedicated 3.8 km track. These vehicles are hugely popular amongst passengers and enable reduction of 100 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

In January 2017, Heathrow’s innovation department held a three-day event to present the latest advances in driverless electric cars.  During the event, the first of its type in the UK, the Heathrow community had the chance to see and test the experience of travelling in one of these cars. The aim of the initiative was to assess the impact of this type of technology, showcase its safety and lead the debate on what “autonomous” means for Heathrow.

The car used for the test was the Navya Arma, 100% electric and launched by the French company Navya in October 2015. This innovative and intelligent autonomous transport service has a capacity for 15 passengers and can reach safe speeds of 45 km/h. The design is the result of ten years of research, providing the highest level of autonomy, making the ARMA the first series of fully autonomous vehicles.

Moreover, Heathrow is part of the GATEway project, which tests driverless cars on the streets of London. These cars are based on Heathrow’s POD vehicles.

Driverless cars have the potential to mitigate many of the negative aspects of today’s vehicles, such as:

  • Reducing the number of accidents.
  • Reducing traffic, due to the reduced number of accidents.
  • Contributing to a more efficient driving style, a reduction in emissions, and enhancing public health.
  • Enabling users to spend their time more efficiently and be more productive.
  • Improving public health.
  • Improving: autonomous cars also provide the opportunity for tailor-made services at a lower cost.

Automatic detection of the use of auxiliary power units (APUs)

Joint initiative by London’s Heathrow Airport and Japanese company Fujitsu for the automatic detection of the use of auxiliary power units (APUs).

  • 470 Aircraft
  • 90.43% Percentage of satisfactory results

Heathrow airport and Japanese company Fujitsu have worked together to develop a system for automatically detecting the use of auxiliary power units (APUs), which provide electricity, hydraulic pressure and air conditioning, amongst others, while aircraft engines are switched off.

This new system allows automation of a system which to date was performed manually by airport staff. Different tests have been carried out over a period of a month at various airport locations, with very positive results, for in 90.43% of the cases data have been obtained effectively and accurately.

The following stage after this initial test is scaling up the system over a larger area within the airport.

Systems of this type allow efficiency improvements in operations, one of the three basic pillars of innovative projects at Ferrovial airports, together with sustainability and passenger experience.

General information

Heathrow Airport
London, United Kingdom.
78 million