Heathrow wins Best International Airport Award


By Heathrow

Published 30th July 2013

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Here at yourHeathrow we’re proud to announce that Heathrow Airport has taken out Executive Travel Magazine’s 2013 Leading Edge Award for the Best International Airport.

London’s hub took home the award ahead of impressive competitors Amsterdam’s Schiphol and Singapore’s Changi airports.

The awards feature a number of categories and are based on polling of the magazine’s readership between January 31 and April 1 this year.Other notable International category winners included Korean Airlines (Airline Overall, Airline Customer Service, Frequent-Flyer Program) and Singapore Airlines (Airline Premium-Class Service and Airport Lounges). Both airlines also fly from Heathrow Airport.

Boeing’s 777 took out the Best Aircraft Type ahead of the Boeing 747 and the Airbus 380.

In Executive Travel’s words, the “Leading Edge Awards were developed to honour travel providers that offer the most innovative, high-quality products to business travellers. To that end, Executive Travel readers vote for their favourite travel providers each year”.

From all of us at yourHeathrow Airport we’d like to say thank you to all those that voted for us for this award!

Want to know more about Heathrow Airport? Leave a comment or tweet us @yourHeathrow!The full list of award winners can be found on the Executive Travel Magazine website.

Since we launched yourHeathrow on June 4 we’ve been lucky enough to welcome over 24,500 visitors to the site, so we thought it was the right time to recap and say thank you to you all!

In the last week alone we’ve welcomed Dr Who and a TARDIS to the airport and released the much anticipated proposals for Heathrow expansion to the Davies Commission, both of which we’d love to hear your thoughts on.

Stepping back a few weeks and we got to see Top Gear’s “Stig” take a spin on the tarmac in a bright Giallo Orion Lamborghini Aventador, while we also interviewed champion Red Bull pilot, Paul Bonhomme, as he recreated the revolutionary new T2 “Slipstream” sculpture in his stunt plane. Not surprisingly there was a bit of competition in the office to get out to these events…

Airport Live and more…In case you missed it, we were lucky enough to welcome the BBC to Heathrow as they put together four nights (June 17-20) of live television from the airport in the aptly named, “Airport Live” series which we supported.

The hashtag #airportlive trended in the UK over three nights on Twitter, while those that joined in on our live chats here on the site will not be able to forget local hero Keith St Morris and his chair diving exploits (see Nights 2 and 3 of our Airport Live chat coverage).

Virgin Atlantic Pilot, Graham Ellison, was also a big hit as we went behind the scenes with him in a live chat on Twitter and here on yourHeathrow, while yourHeathrow’s look at what it’s like to be an airport firefighter and an Air Traffic Controller were also popular. Our interactive map of the airport filled with plenty of fun facts was also a big hit (check it out here).

Along the way Chloe from our team get also got an insight into what it’s like to be a plane spotter, two-year-old Ridley won our Colour Heathrow competition, and Lee Wren took out the #ourlhr Instagram prize while a host of other stories featured on the site.

Here at yourHeathrow, we’re constantly looking to keep you informed about your airport in a fun and interactive way so we’d love to hear about any other stories you’d like to see on the site. So go on, leave a comment below, tweet us @yourHeathrow or follow us on Instagram (Heathrow_Airport) and get involved with your airport.

From the yourHeathrow Team we’d like to say a big thanks to everyone that has visited us so far! We’ve loved all the great questions and photos tweeted to us, as well as the laughs we’ve had with our followers along the way!

-The yourHeathrow Team (Marc, Chris, Maddy, Hana, Brooke & Mitika)

In the 65 years since Heathrow’s birth as a civil airport a lot has changed. Emerging technologies have not only increased passenger capacity, but have also created more fuel-efficient, quieter, and comfortable aircraft. Here at yourHeathrow we’re taking a look at 5 aircraft that have not only changed Heathrow, but also air travel and the world. Enjoy!

What are your thoughts on the 5? Tweet us @yourHeathrow .

Next in our competing hub profiles, yourHeathrow heads up over Asia for a visit down under to Sydney Kingsford-Smith International Airport.

Sydney Kingsford-Smith International Airport is one of the oldest airports in the world. Opened in 1920 as an airfield, it soon became the main gateway to Australia and by 1953 was transporting 26 million passengers each year. Today, it’s the busiest airport in the country with more than 36 million passengers passing through in 2011 – 100,000 per day.

As the 31st busiest airport in the world, Kingsford-Smith handles 280,000 aircraft movements and is the primary hub for Qantas.  The 76 airlines at home there fly to 43 international destinations. An expected 60 million travellers will take off and land in 2020.

Sydney Airport is popular among shopaholic travellers with more than 150 shops, and a great place to indulge in some quintessential Australian cuisine. Kangaroo, anyone?The Facts…

Born: 1920

Location: 8km from the city centre in the suburbs of Mascot

Runways: 3

Percentage capacity (2013): 60%

Airlines: 76

Passengers: 36,920,000

Freight: 471,000 tonnes



UPDATE (May 13, 2014): Heathrow has submitted a revised north-west option third runway to the Airport Commission. Find out more here.

In the fourth instalment of our UK airport capacity debate coverage we take a look at Heathrow’s submission to the Airports Commission today, and the three expansion options presented in it. There are no easy options for building new UK runways with all having their pros and cons. None will be without significant cost and disruption for individuals and communities. The expansion decision will be among the toughest the government has to face.

Why should Heathrow expand?

Operating at 98 per cent capacity, Heathrow’s ability to compete on the UK’s behalf for future economic growth opportunities is hampered by a need for more runway space. Currently, Heathrow is permitted 480,000 flights per year compared to its four main European hub competitors – Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and Madrid – that can accommodate around 700,000. It is estimated this deficit is costing the UK up to £14 billion a year in lost trade connections, a number that could rise to £26 billion by 2030. Greater cost efficiencies, more flight options and additional international trade can be provided by a hub airport as opposed to multiple, smaller sized, airports – hence the need to keep one clear, international hub airport expanding in Britain.

Forecast demand…

It is estimated that three runways would provide Heathrow with a maximum capacity of 740,000 flights a year, which could accommodate up to 130 million passengers annually. While this level of traffic is not likely to be achieved until 2040, it is estimated the number of passengers using Heathrow in 2030 would be 100 million (30 million more than 2012) if a third runway is constructed.

Option 1: Third runway to the North West…

In this option, a third runway would be constructed on the site of Old Slade sewage works, Harmondsworth Moor, Harmondsworth and Longford. The runway would be just south of the M25/M4 motorways junction and part of the M25 would need to be reconfigured.Construction of this runway could be completed in just six years with an estimated operational date of 2026. Total costs are estimated to be £17 billion. Around 950 residential properties would need to be purchased to make way for this option. Heathrow is looking at ways to preserve heritage sites the Tithe Barn and St Mary’s Church that fall within the Harmondsworth area affected. The population within Heathrow’s noise footprint would still be 15 per cent lower with three runways in 2030 than in 2011.

Option 2: Third runway to the South West…

A third runway would be constructed over King George VI and Wraysbury reservoirs with new apron and terminal facilities on the site of Stanwell Moor, under the South West option. This requires a more complex construction challenge with the need to re-provide wildlife habitat and flood zone storage. A larger section of the M25 would also need to be tunnelled than the north-west option.As a result of these complexities, this option would take until 2029 to complete and would cost £18 billion. Runway alteration for aircraft, alongside other noise reduction measures, mean the population within Heathrow’s noise footprint is estimated to be around 20 per cent lower with three runways in 2030 than with two runways in 2011. Under this option 850 homes would have to be purchased to make way for a third runway.

Option 3: A Third runway to the North…

This option is the cheapest and quickest, but has higher noise and property impacts as well as a reduced capacity of 700,000 flights. Under this option the third runway and associated facilities would be constructed over the villages of Sipson, Harlington and Cranford Cross. The Tithe Barn and St Mary’s church would be preserved in their current locations.A total of around 2,700 homes would need to be purchased to make way for the runway, which has an estimated operational date of 2025. Total costs are estimated to be around £14 billion. The population within Heathrow’s noise footprint would be around 10 per cent lower with three runways in 2030 than with two runways in 2011.

The options by the numbers… 

On July 9, 2013, some of Heathrow’s very own local residents went behind the scenes on a tarmac visit as our team of over 150 technicians worked through the night resurfacing part of the Southern Runway.

The group, members of our Local Focus Forum, all donned comically bright, and safety appropriate, “high-vis” clothing and hard hats to check out the important runway operation as over 450 tonnes of asphalt were laid.

Coats, shoes, and identification badges were misplaced as the group turned into big kids when face to face with the heavy machinery and each other’s passport photos (which were required for security purposes of course).

The works are part of a 6 month, £20 million, project to resurface the entire 171, 000 square metres of the runway which is the equivalent to 24 football pitches!

The process involves planing 50 millimetres off the surface of the 3.8 kilometre long runway and replacing that with 21,000 tonnes of Asphalt.

Along the way 1039 Airfield Ground Lights (ALG), 72 kilometres of cabling and 13,300 square metres of paint markings have to be replaced.

Significantly the Asphalt is mixed at 170 degrees (Celsius) and has to be suitable for planes to land on one hour after being laid. As works can’t interfere with airport operations an Aircraft Crossing point has to be maintained over the runway at all times.

A blind spot that hides a 747 aircraft, travelling at 160mph down the runway, seems like some serious yarn spinning. But when TopGear visits Heathrow, you get a Giallo Orion Lamborghini Aventador helping out on the tarmac!


The bright yellow Lamborghini was given lights and stripes so that it would fit right in with the other ‘ordinary’ airport vehicles.

Joining the airside safety crew in style last month, the Lambo (and The Stig) had to tick off a few regulations before letting loose. Firstly, the driver had to pass a driving test to earn a special license. Secondly, TopGear had to provide a suitable vehicle (and a Lamborghini suited us just fine!). The vehicle had to be bright yellow, with flashing orange lights on the top. It also needed a valid Ministry of Transport(MOT) safety certificate and to be less than 10 years old, and ideally be quick enough to get out of trouble should it need to give way to a double-decker Airbus in search of somewhere to land.


Although many of us hoped to see the Lambo’ in full speed, we have a 40mph speed limit around the airfield and black and white stripes that cannot be crossed, separating roadway from runway. Outside of the airfield though, the Lamborghini couldn’t resist and showed off its speed on the surrounding roads.

This £253,000 Lambo was loaned, not purchased, and proved to be very useful after spotting and removing some debris that could otherwise have lodged itself in an aircraft tyre, or worse. The airside safety crew and always open to a helping hand, in style or not.


Safety, our main priority here at Heathrow, has never been so appealing!

Read more about this incredible feature from our friend’s at Top Gear in the July 2013 issue of their magazine. 

Chris Martin, David Cameron, Ed Balls and a line-up of stars were in attendance for Heathrow’s win at the Whizz-Kidz Unlimited Awards on Wednesday (July 10).

Presenters Rick Edwards and Alex Brooker awarded Heathrow with the Access and Inclusion Award for the airport’s preparation for the 2012 Paralympic Games. Head of Community Relations and Policy, Cheryl Monk, accepted the award on Heathrow’s behalf.Heathrow and Whizz-Kidz officially partnered in 2012 with a twofold aim: to prepare the airport for the Paralympics, and to raise thousands of pounds to fund the charity’s work with disabled children.The year-long charity partnership raised a total of £156,198.Extra lifts and improved access for reduced mobility passengers were also a legacy of the partnership and the Paralympic Games.Representatives from the Office for Disability commended Heathrow’s efforts to improve airport facilities at function.

Whizz-Kidz CEO, Ruth Owen OBE, said it was wonderful to be Heathrow’s chosen charity for the 2012 Paralympics in London and be part of readying the airport for disabled athletes and passengers.

“Well done and congratulations for raising £156,198 to support more disabled young people with the appropriate mobility equipment to lead full and independent lives,” Ruth Owen OBE said.

13 July 2013: In the third instalment in our coverage of the UK airport capacity and expansion debate we take a look at the Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, which will make recommendations to the Government on the nation’s future airport capacity.

Why do we need a commission?

With the UK’s international hub airport (Heathrow) running at 98 per cent capacity, emerging economies on the rise, and competing European nations capitalizing on airport expansion – the UK is in between a rock and a hard place when it comes to airport capacity.

The aviation industry employs over 234,000 people directly (supporting many more indirectly) and contributes more than £18 billion to the economy (Source: BATA http://www.bata.uk.com ), yet this is limited by the lack of direct flight connections to emerging markets brought about by limited capacity.

It is estimated that the UK could be missing out on up to £14 billion of trade due to these constraints.The situation has created incredible debate as to how, when, where and what could be done to solve this complex issue.

Construction costs, economic futures, land availability, noise pollution, transport infrastructure, wildlife, climate change, employment, established business and airline industry locations, and travel time are just some of the many factors driving the debate.

Enter the Airports Commission. Late 2012 (September 7 to be precise), the UK Government announced Sir Howard Davies would chair a commission to get to the bottom of the debate and come up with recommendations on how best to expand airport capacity and support UK economic growth.

What is it doing now?

It is gathering evidence about current and future airport capacity and all the factors that influence and affect this. It has also asked for submissions on proposals for future capacity – where to build new runways as well as how to make better use of existing capacity.

Where to from here?

A July 19 deadline has been set for expansion proposals to be submitted to the Airports Commission, with an interim report on their analysis expected by the end of 2013.

The media have already predicted that proposals could include a third-runway at Heathrow (look out for Heathrow’s formal submission soon), an additional runway, or even two, at Stansted Airport, four-runway Thames Estuary designs (including “Boris Island”), and a second runway at Gatwick Airport.The Department of Transport has stated that the interim report will set out an assessment on what is required to keep the UK moving forward as a global hub, while also outlining immediate actions for the next 5 years.

If all things go to plan, the 2015 summer should see the Commission publish a final report outlining its recommendations for how the UK can best move forward with airport capacity.

Who is Sir Howard Davies?

Knighted in 2000, Sir Howard Davies is best known for his role as Chairman of the UK Financial Services Authority, which controlled regulation of the financial industry, from 1997 until 2003. Since then, Sir Howard has spent time as the Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science from 2003 until 2011.

Outside of talking finance, he is reportedly a Manchester City supporter and a cricket lover.Want to know more? Leave a comment, tweet us @yourHeathrow, or for more information Heathrow 3rd runway plans see our new site area Taking Britain Further.

Last week British Airways’ first Boeing 787 Dreamliner touched down here at Heathrow, today (July 4), we welcomed the airline’s first Airbus A380.

Dubbed the ‘superjumbo’, the A380 is the world’s largest passenger aircraft accommodating up to 555 travellers. It is more than 70 metres long and has a wingspan of almost 80 metres.

Larger doesn’t mean louder, however, as the A380 produces half the noise of its closest rival during take off. The creation of new taxiways and stands to host larger aircraft at Heathrow have allowed for these revolutionary, quieter, aircraft to visit.

There are currently twelve A380s that travel through Heathrow with approximately thirty A380s and sixty B787s expected by 2020.

Strict noise limits mean that airlines generally use their quietest aircraft around 15 per cent more on Heathrow routes.Heathrow Sustainability Director Matt Gorman said, “This type of aircraft, along with innovative operational procedures and tough operational restrictions mean that fewer people are affected by noise from Heathrow today than at any time since the 1970s, even though the number of flights has almost doubled.”


By Heathrow

Published 4th July 2013