In terms of passenger numbers, London Heathrow airport is the 3rd busiest in
the world, in spite of the fact that it has only 2 runways. In 2012, passenger
numbers were just shy of 70m. The most popular destinations from Heathrow are
New York (JFK), Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Some 86 airlines are
represented at the airport, serving 193 destinations in 90 countries. It is also
the home of British Airways.
The airport currently has 4 terminal buildings in use, T1, T3, T4 and T5, terminal 2 having been demolished in 2010. The most recent terminal (T5) was opened in 2008. A new terminal 2 (T2) is under construction and due to be opened in 2014. This terminal will be used exclusively be 'Star Alliance' members. Terminal 5 was used exclusively by BA, however, following the merger with Iberia Airlines, the terminal is now used by the entire group (IAG). Terminals 3 and 4 were refurbished in 2007 and 2009 respectively.
The airport company employs nearly 6,500 staff. However, when taking account of other employers at the airport, the number employed directly at Heathrow is estimated to be 76,500 and these figures are boosted to 116k when those employed indirectly are included.
The airport is located West of London, some 14 miles from central London. The airport has reached capacity and plans to expand the airport have become a political football. Options being discussed range from adding a new runway at Heathrow, to building a new airport on the Thames Estuary, through to expanding other "London" airports, such as Stansted. There have even been proposals to utilise Birmingham airport (based in the Midlands) for expansion, once the High Speed Rail Link has been built. Interestingly, when taking account of the other 'London' airports, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, London City and Southend, the London city airport system is, by a large margin, the busiest in the worlds with nearly 134m passengers. The fact remains that London's status as a major world hub is at risk if issues surrounding expansion and capacity are not resolved quickly, with Frankfurt and Charles de Gaulle claimed to be the main beneficiaries.
There is a non-stop (express) train service from the airport to central London, called Heathrow Express, which runs between the airport and London Paddington Station. Trains run every 15 minutes with a journey time of 15 minutes. The trains depart from Terminal 5 and Heathrow Central Station, which is located at Terminals 1 and 3. There is a transfer service operating between Terminal 4 and Heathrow Central. There is another train service called Heathrow Connect which leave every 30 minutes, with a journey time of 27 minutes, this also stops at Paddington Station. Four London Tube Stations currently serve the airport at Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4, although journey times can take up to 50 minutes.
The airport is amply served by London Taxi's. All cabs are metered and regulated. The journey time to central London varies considerably based on the time of day, ranging from 30 to 60 minutes. Similarly, fares can range from £45 to £85. Although the taxi's are metered, fares for destinations outside Greater London may be negotiated between the passenger and driver before the journey.
There are 8 car rental companies with desks at Heathrow airport. These are Europcar, Alamo, National, Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget and Enterprise. We offer a car hire comparison service that can compare all or most of the major car rental companies at Heathrow with a single search, saving time and money.
There is ample parking at Heathrow airport, both on and off-site. However, with many parking operators serving Heathrow, it may be prudent to use an Airport Parking Comparison Service, where there will be more options available and the opportunity to save money.