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  • Anonymous

    Tom Otley

    Editor’s weblog

    Heathrow must be holding its breath for the end of the year. Things have quietened down on the headlines front in recent weeks after the media feeding frenzy earlier this year, and business travelers must be hoping it stays that way. I wonder what will happen, though. The solutions suggested both in the letter pages of the Financial Times, for instance, and in editorial seems to be greater competition, something that would only happen if the airports were competing with one another. As John Kay put it:

    “The natural sphere of the commercial sector is where there is a direct connection between the revenues of the business and its effectiveness in meeting customer needs.”
    (click here for link)

    Clearly that isn’t the case with airports. They make their money from landing charges and selling us duty free, which is why the queues for security are so much longer than at the boutiques both landside and airside. All the airports are operating beyond their capacity of course, and so we’re told to wait for Heathrow Terminal 5.
    Perhaps it will be a triumph, but a piece in The Sunday Times supplement (click here for link) raised the questions “Will T5 stay shiny and new?”
    The answer it comes up with is:
    “The evidence in the long run is not encouraging. Norman Foster’s Stansted was a fine concept when it opened 16 years ago. You parked outside and walked through to your plane, which you could see through the glassy exoskeleton. Now, thanks to over-expansion, inadequate parking, clunky security and the tumbleweed of Starbucks and Sunglass Huts, Foster’s vision has been reduced to an inefficient, dingy shopping mall. One critic who has seen T5 says: “BAA needs £6 billion to invest in redeveloping the rest of Heathrow over the next five years. How long before the airy atriums look more like Bluewater?”
    It’s the same complaint Sir Terence Conran made of his own Terminal 1 building.

    In an e-mail to the FT (click here for link), he wrote:

    “As I remember, Terminal 1 originally had two or three shops, plenty of seating space, and was calm and clean. BAA at that time was customer-focused but when it became a privately owned company it realised that it could expand its out-of-town shopping activities without needing planning permission, hence the bazaar atmosphere that now pervades their terminals.”

    Finally in the Guardian (click here for link)
    there was an article to chill the blood of every frequent traveller.

    In a special supplement on Outdoor media (that’s advertising to the rest of us), we heard about how “architects, advertisers and BAA have been working together to make Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 a showcase for the best new campaigns and creative.”
    What this means in practice is laid out for us in uncompromising, if ambiguous terms:

    “Picture this. You’ve just got off the overnight “red eye” flight from New York. You’re disoriented, all-in and grumpy. Then you enter the gleaming, state-of-the-art temple to air travel that is the new Heathrow Terminal 5, where you are targeted with a series of sleek digital advertising messages that perfectly tune into your state of mind and where you have come from….Welcome to the brave new world of airport advertising – a world that will be unveiled on March 27 next year when the new terminal opens.”

    Oh dear


    Wow … nearly 4 years on and this reads as fresh as could be. “Oh dear”, indeed.

    But what I actually want is advice …I’m confused about the internal/external connections at LHR. The tube seems simple enough, but am I right inferring that Heathrow Express does not serve T5 direct, but Heathrow Connect serves T1,2,3 and T5.

    So from Paddington it’s more convenient (less lugging) to accept 5 minutes longer on the 4-stop First train and be taken straight to T5?

    The maps are not clear.


    No, the Heathrow Express will take you to T5, it is the stop after Heathrow T1 & T3 which share the first stop. I use it regularly just to get between terminals, the Heathrow Connect service does not go to T5 at all.


    Heathrow Express goes to T5. Heathrow Connect goes to T4.

    P.S. I cannot believe that no one has posted on this topic for nearly 4 years!


    When I last used Heatrhow Express they had switched Heathrow Express away from Terminal 4 to Terminal 5 to suit British Airways and their Pax. So Passengers for T5 remained on the Heathrow express after the 1-2-3 stop and it continued to T5. Passengers for T4 had to change, completely destroying the speed advantage. The slow service ran to T4 and pax for T5 changed at 1-2-3. I would hope they would serve both Terminals by using a loop but no one appears to have thought of that.


    Let’s not forget all this advertising (which isn’t all that invasive IMHO) ensures investment in the airport for the future.

    While I am no fan of BAA, there have/are investing billions in rejuvenating Heathrow, with T5 completed, T4 beyond recognition from four years ago, and all of us eagerly awaiting the new Central Area development which replaces T2.

    While I would like to say the advertising and shops help keep the fees BAA charges passenger low, that isn’t the case; however they are certainly lower than they would be without the ad revenue.

    To answer your question, Heathrow Express does serve T5 direct (though there can be a few minutes pause at the T1/T3 station).


    Seem to remember that there was talk of extending the HR-X to the new super hub at Kings X – St Pancras UKs Gateway Railway Station or like our Mr Mayors Meadway Dream (which I like )will it be just that.. another dream.


    This news appeared on the BBC website yesterday

    “Heathrow airport sees record passengers in July”

    North American passengers increased by 5.4% while Brazil bound passengers increased by 80% !!!
    Also take note that Stansted passengers in July dropped 7.2%

    for the complete information on BAA´s website

    Does this not lend weight to the argument that a third runway is essential at Heathrow?
    If not, is it not imperative to increases the number of runways at Gatwick , or elsewhere near London?
    What about developing a second UK hub?


    Biggin Hill comes to mind


    as does Northolt………its closer……….


    I am astounded at the suggestions still being put forward to solve the problems of lack of runways in the South East of England.

    The distance from Heathrow to Northolt is 10 kms.(in amongst a residencial area as is LHR) while Biggin Hill (partly surrounded by residencial areas) to Heathrow is 38 kms. and to Gatwick is 25 kms.
    The only feasible usage of old airfields is the disused Redhill aerodrome at 8kms from Gatwick. However, all the measurements given are “as the crow flies” so do not necessarily mean final lengths. It becomes obvious,in these examples that it is much less obtrusive and consequently less expensive to build a third runway at Heathrow as originally planned and a second parallel runway at Gatwick as still planned.

    Let us, at last, get down from our high horses and become more practical. “Pie in the sky” or “Boris islands in the estuary” are just not on.

    As finance has already been talked about for the constructon of the said runways we can see that the obsolete and useless minor aerodromes could be sold off for development to pay for the construction of the extensions at the major airports.



    Both Northolt and Biggin are currently in use and make perfect General Aviation terminals and commuter terminals. Challenge is logistical, connecting the airports by road or train.

    There was some talk a few months ago about Heathrow having 3 runways, I thought it used to have 4 active runways. Doesnt that planning permission or whatever still exist.

    As for the residential area, it is not stopping jet traffic currently. Think about the jobs in the local area.


    One of the objections for air traffic (of any type) is flights over populated areas. That is why I mentioned it.

    I admit I exaggerated when i said Northolt and Biggin Hill were “useless”. It is true that they serve a purpose for private and corporate aviation. That is not, however, a weightly enough reason to link these aerodromes to the big airports. I also think that public transport does not come into play in these cases since the beneficiaries of such private aviation are more likely to use chauffeur driven cars or, at least, taxis to connect or get to wherever they are going.

    Heathrow was built on the old RAF plan – with cross runways (two east-west and two North East – South West). The NE-SW runways have subsequently been taken over by buildings – Heathgrow East being the latest. Its capacity has been reduced but should be increased yet again with the much mooted third runway between the M4 motorway and the A408 Bath Road.

    To mention just two airports, Paris Orly and Zurich, both have three runways but non-aligned so the take-offs and landings have to well co-ordinated as the flight paths cross. Heathrow , in comparison, with three parallel runways would be easier to implement, operate and cheaper. Almost all the infrastructure is in place. I, thus, think that my arguments are still valid for the extension of the present airports – Heathrow et al as I have many times said.


    from The Times of..only 2 Years ago……

    The biggest airport expansion for 60 years will be approved today when the Government gives the go-ahead to a £9 billion third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow.

    Ministers will attempt to appease environmental groups by pledging that the extra runway capacity will be linked to tough new emissions standards for aircraft.
    Only airlines that buy the most fuel-efficient aircraft will be granted additional slots.

    However, the aviation industry is already committed to introducing more efficient aircraft and the runway is likely to be heavily used as soon as it opens in 2019 or 2020.

    The number of passengers using Heathrow is predicted almost to double to 116 million a year within a few years of the runway opening.

    The Government will also promise a new high-speed rail link between London and the North, with a link from St Pancras in Central London to Heathrow. However, planning for the line is at a very early stage and ministers are unlikely to give a clear financial commitment.

    The final go-ahead in government came last night after Gordon Brown finally succeeded in heading off Cabinet opposition with the etc etc…

    Not really a case of if …but ..when….can be only a matter of time

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