London Heathrow Airport located in Hayes, in the London Borough of Hillingdon is Europe ‘s third biggest airport for air movements and is the biggest airport for number of passengers served. Heathrow Airport is the largest airport serving greater London .Heathrow Airport has two parallel runways running east-west and four terminals. Terminal 5 is currently under construction It is expected to open in 2008, with construction of all satellite buildings completed in 2011.When it is completed Heathrow Airport will be able to handle up to 90 million passengers a year, up from its current limit of 68 million.
Currently, the London Heathrow Airport expansion is the largest aviation project in Europe and will cater for 30 million passengers and will be used by British Airways, which will transfer its entire operation there. In addition to the main terminal building, Heathrow Terminal 5 also consists of two satellite buildings (the second of which will be completed by 2011), 60 aircraft stands, a new air traffic control tower, a 4,000 space multi-storey car park, the creation of a new spur road from the M25, a 600-bed hotel, the diversion of two rivers and over 13 km of bored tunnel, including extensions to the Heathrow Express and Piccadilly Line services.
Heathrow Terminal 5 will have dedicated aircraft stands for the new Airbus A380 in the first satellite terminal (Concourse B), which opens alongside the main terminal.
The Heathrow terminal buildings have been designed by Richard Rogers Partnership and the lead project architects are Pascall and Watson, who specialise in airports and transport facilities. The four storeys of the main terminal building (Concourse A) are covered by a single-span undulating steel frame roof, stretching 90 m from east to west. Departing passengers will enter Departures level (on the 3rd floor) after taking one of the lifts or escalators from the interchange plaza. Upon entering the Departures concourse, passengers will see views across the Heathrow area and be in a space that is unobstructed to the rising roof above. After check-in and ticket presentation, the airside lounges will provide views across the tarmac and the runways beyond. There will be an abundance of retail outlets.
London Heathrow Airport has been owned and operated by BAA since before its privatisation in 1987. BAA claims Heathrow Airport is “the hub of the aviation world”. In order to prevent monopoly profits, the amount BAA is allowed to charge airlines to land aeroplanes at Heathrow is heavily regulated by the Civilian Aviation Authority.
In 2004 Heathrow Airport was the busiest airport in Europe in terms of total passenger traffic (31.5% more passengers than at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport or Frankfurt International Airport), but was third behind Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt in terms of plane movements (9.5% fewer planes than at Charles de Gaulle, and 0.3% fewer planes than at Frankfurt). Heathrow Airport was also third in terms of cargo traffic (24.8% less cargo than at Charles de Gaulle and 23.2% less than at Frankfurt).
In 2005 Heathrow Airport total passenger numbers rose 0.9% to 67.7 million.
Heathrow Airport 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-story car parks. Additionally, there are car parks not run by BAA lying just outside the airport claiming to offer cheaper parking. Very often, these are connected to the terminals by shuttle buses.
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 2 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.
Other tunnels not open to the general public connect various parts of the Airport. The Heathrow Cargo Tunnel connects Terminals 1, 2 and 3 to Terminal 4 as well as to Perimeter Road . The recently completed Heathrow Airside Road Tunnel connect Terminals 1, 2 and 3 to the site of Terminal 5 and provides access to future T5 gates that are currently in use as remote stands.