A sunny and hot afternoon at London Heathrow Airport on the afternoon of Saturday 7th July 2018. Only one thing really does stand out here and that is a Gulfstream landing here, has anyone ever recorded one?
Heathrow Airport (also known as London Heathrow) (IATA: LHR, ICAO: EGLL) is a major international airport in London, United Kingdom. Heathrow is the second busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic, as well as the busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic, and the sixth busiest airport in the world by total passenger traffic. It is one of six international airports serving Greater London. In 2017, it handled a record 78.0 million passengers, a 3.1% increase from 2016.
Heathrow lies 14 miles (23 km) west of Central London, and has two parallel east–west runways along with four operational terminals on a site that covers 12.27 square kilometres (4.74 sq mi). The airport is owned and operated by Heathrow Airport Holdings, which itself is owned by FGP TopCo Limited, an international consortium led by Ferrovial that also includes Qatar Holding LLC, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, GIC Private Limited, Alinda Capital Partners, China Investment Corporation and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). London Heathrow is the primary hub for British Airways and the primary operating base for Virgin Atlantic.
In September 2012, the UK government established the Airports Commission, an independent commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies to examine various options for increasing capacity at UK airports. In July 2015, the commission backed a third runway at Heathrow, which the government approved in October 2016.
Heathrow is 14 mi (23 km) west of central London, near the south end of the London Borough of Hillingdon on a parcel of land that is designated part of the Metropolitan Green Belt. The airport is surrounded by the villages of Harlington, Harmondsworth, Longford and Cranford to the north and by Hounslow and Hatton to the east. To the south lie Bedfont and Stanwell while to the west Heathrow is separated from Slough in Berkshire by the M25 motorway. Heathrow falls entirely under the Twickenham postcode area, with the postcode TW6.
As the airport is located west of London and as its runways run east–west, an airliner’s landing approach is usually directly over the conurbation of London when the wind is from the west, which is most of the time.
Along with Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Southend and London City, Heathrow is one of six airports with scheduled services serving the London area, although only Heathrow and London City are within Greater London.
Heathrow Airport originated in 1929 as a small airfield (Great West Aerodrome) on land south-east of the hamlet of Heathrow from which the airport takes its name. At that time there were farms, market gardens and orchards there: there was a “Heathrow Farm” about where Terminal 1 is now, a “Heathrow Hall” and a “Heathrow House”. This hamlet was largely along a country lane (Heathrow Road) which ran roughly along the east and south edges of the present central terminals area.
Development of the whole Heathrow area as a very much larger airport began in 1944: it was stated to be for long-distance military aircraft bound for the Far East. But by the time the airfield was nearing completion, World War II had ended. The government continued to develop the airport as a civil airport; it opened as London Airport in 1946 and was renamed Heathrow Airport in 1966. The masterplan for the airport was designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd, who designed the original terminals and central area buildings, including the original control tower and the multi-faith chapel of St George’s.
Heathrow Express: a non-stop service direct to London’s Paddington station; trains leave every 15 minutes for the 15-minute journey (21 minutes to/from Terminal 5). Trains depart from Heathrow Terminal 5 station or Heathrow Central station (Terminals 2 & 3). A Heathrow Express transfer service operates between Terminal 4 and Heathrow Central to connect with services from London and Terminal 5.
TfL Rail: a stopping service to Paddington calling at up to five National Rail stations en route – trains leave every 30 minutes for the 27-minute journey. Calls at Hayes & Harlington for connecting trains to Reading. Operated by Heathrow Connect until May 2018, will be extended in December 2019 to Abbey Wood and Shenfield via the Elizabeth line.
London Underground (Piccadilly line): four stations serve the airport: Terminal 2 & 3, Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 serve the passenger terminals; and Hatton Cross the maintenance areas. The usual journey time from Heathrow Central to Central London is around 40–50 minutes.
The Hotel Hoppa bus network connects all terminals to major hotels in the area.
Taxis are available at all terminals.