Heathrow wins Favourite Airport in Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards


By Heathrow

Published 31st August 2016

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Heathrow has been voted as Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ “Favourite Airport” in their 2016 Travel Awards, announced last night.

The Awards celebrate ‘the best of the best in travel, as voted for by people who love travel’ – a terrific accolade for all we’re doing to give passengers the best airport service in the world and recognised by readers who are seasoned and discerning travellers.

Proudly accepting the award on our behalf at the stylish Ham Yard Hotel, Laura Dean, Head of Security Terminal 5, said: “It’s a real tribute to everyone’s efforts over the past year that our consistent high performance has been recognised with this award from our customers who appreciate everything that we’re doing to transform customer service.’

The latest in a string of awards for Heathrow…

Heathrow’s £11bn investment in transforming the airport since 2006, including the new Terminals 2 and 5, has seen it awarded numerous awards in recent years.

These awards include:

  • World’s Best Airport Terminal, Best Airport for Shopping, and Best Airport in Western Europe (Skytrax, 2016)

  • Best Airport in Western Europe – 25 million passengers and over (ACI Europe, 2016)

  • Airport of the Year (The Independent’s Travel Awards, 2016)

  • World’s Best Airport Terminal, Best Airport for Shopping, and Best Airport in Western Europe (Skytrax, 2015)

  • Eco-Innovation Award and Best Airport (ACI Europe, 2015)

  • Energy Management Award (Edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards, 2015)

  • Single European Sky Award for Time Based Separation procedure (SESAR, 2016)

75 million passengers travelled via Heathrow in 2015..

More people than ever chose Heathrow in 2015 with 75 million passengers passing through the terminals, as the airport achieved its highest ever passenger satisfaction rate. Heathrow has invested in more security lanes and more e-gates in immigration, new lounges and hotels and in training for front line colleagues to keep improving the experience for passengers.

Highlights from 2016 so far include:

  • Heathrow achieved record half-year passenger satisfaction scores – with 83% of passengers rating their journey as “very good” or “excellent”

  • Garuda Indonesia became the newest airline to join Heathrow, launching a 5-times-weekly service direct to Jakarta;

  • Heathrow and Hong Kong International Airport signed a new partnership to drive innovation and service;

  • Korean Air became the 9th carrier to use an A380 at Heathrow;

  • Oman Air launched a second daily service to Muscat with newly purchased slots;

  • Heathrow’s expansion client partners were announced – CH2M, Arup, MACE and Turner & Townsend;

  • Ethiopian Airlines became the second carrier to start using the revolutionary new A350 at the airport.

Expansion case goes from strength to strength…

Heathrow has released a new fly through video showcasing how expansion at the UK’s hub airport is about more than just a runway. Titled – “It’s time for Heathrow” – the video also includes inside footage of the state-of-the-art new Central Terminal Area design.

A still image from the new central terminal area showcased in “It’s time for Heathrow”.


UPDATE (Sept 9, 2016): The 2016 Team GB Paralympians have touched down at Heathrow this morning after a successful games in which they won 147 medals! See our favourite tweets from their return, here.

British Airways BA2016 has touched down at Heathrow this morning, carrying many of Team GB back from the Olympics. The athletes were met by friends and family – and a lot of fanfare. See our behind the scenes video of BA2016 on the tarmac and some our favourite tweets so far about the journey home, below!

Fast facts about BA2016:

  • Captain Steve Hawkins brought home the Boeing 747 flight

  • Flight BA2016 was loaded with extra champagne (77 bottles in total), 350 litres of water and treats for the 11 hour 15 minute journey

  • Pole vaults, javelins, bicycles and laser pistols are just some of the items of kit the airline flew back;

  • The largest item to be flown back was  sail at 6.7 meters!

  • “victoRIOus” carried 92 medals – weighing a total of 46 kg!

VIDEO | Watch BA2016 “Victorious” as it taxis onto stand…

We set-up the office’s Go-Pro on the dash of one of our airside safety vehicles to watch BA2016 as it made its way across the tarmac to the waiting media. Aboard the flight were 320 athletes and 46kg of medals!

FLASHBACK: Heathrow’s farewell to the 2012 Olympians

A little over four years ago (August 13, 2012), Heathrow said farewell to the athletes of the London Olympics! As part of being the host airport for the Olympics, Heathrow opened a specific, London Park-themed, games terminal. Read more…

The now closed Terminal 1, as it was presented during the Olympics of 2012.

From all of us at Heathrow – congratulations to Team GB on their successful performance at the Rio Olympics!

Ethiopian Airlines has become the second carrier at Heathrow to use one of the new state-of-the-art Airbus A350 XWBs! Last Sunday (August 14) the airline launched the use of the new aircraft on its daily non-stop services between Heathrow and Addis Ababa.

Following on from Finnair’s introduction of the A350 on its Heathrow-Helsinki route, and Qatar’s showcase flight, Ethiopian has joined a growing list of airlines taking advantage of the aircraft’s comfort and fuel efficiency.

Passengers travelling with the airline to Addis Ababa will now be able to take advantage of the wider seats and windows, quieter cabin, advanced air conditioning technology of the new aircraft.

Ethiopian A350 by the numbers:

  • Length: 66.8m
  • Wingspan: 64.75m
  • Seats: 313 Economy Class, 30 lie-flat bed Business class
  • Engines: 2 x Rolls Royce Trent
  • Range: 8,100 nautical miles
  • A350 Model: A350-900

The lowest CO2 emissions of any aircraft in the wide body category…

The A350 XWB is one of the most comfortable, technologically innovative and fuel-efficient aircraft in the market today ,providing exceptional levels of luxury and reliability combined with the latest technology for a totally unique passenger experience.

The Business class cabin, “Cloud9”, on the Ethiopian A350 is outfitted with 30 state-of-the-art diamond seats which fully lie flat. Source: Ethiopian.

The A350 XWB’s innovative technology also improves performance in operation. Its revolutionary airframe and simplified systems have optimized fuel burn, maintenance costs and reliability, and its engines have the lowest carbon dioxide CO2 emissions of any in the wide body category.

Ethiopian has ordered 14 Airbus A350 aircraft and will receive the second one  in mid August, bringing increased comfort levels to its customers.

Source: Ethiopian Airlines

About Ethiopian

Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) is the fastest growing Airline in Africa. In its seven decades of operation, Ethiopian has become one of the continent’s leading carriers, unrivalled in efficiency and operational success.

Ethiopian commands the lion’s share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to 93 international destinations across five continents.

Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Airbus A350, Boeing 787, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter, Bombardier Q-400 double cabin with an average fleet age of five years. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft.

Source: Ethiopian Airlines

Heathrow has begun the installation of fifty new noise monitors in local areas as well as upgrades to its existing monitoring network. The action, one of 10 practical steps set out in the latest version of Heathrow’s Blueprint for Noise Reduction published today, is the direct result of the airport’s engagement with resident groups through the Heathrow Community Noise Forum.

  • 50 new noise monitors are being added to more than double the airport’s existing network

  • New figures show a 5.5% increase in the proportion of quieter, new generation aircraft using the airport

  • Heathrow launches its second ‘Blueprint for Noise’ today

The new monitors will help the airport and residents to gain a better understanding of the impacts of noise in local areas, and will complement the modelling of the existing fixed and mobile monitors. The data gathered will be shared publicly through the Heathrow noise website and the Heathrow Community Noise Forum. In the future, Heathrow plans to use the monitoring system to provide real-time noise measurements to residents.

Other measures outlined in the Blueprint include:

  • Fitting quiet technology to A320s aircraft

  • Establishing a voluntary Quiet Night Charter to reduce the impact of Heathrow’s night operations

  • Launch web based tool xPlane for residents to access flight data specific to their locations

In its bid to encourage more and even quieter aircraft, from January 2017 the airport will introduce lower landing charges to incentivise airlines to prioritise their quietest types of aircraft – known as Chapter 14 aircraft – to use the airport. The move will make Heathrow the first airport in the world to differentiate charges for aircraft like A-350s.

The anticipated move is already having an effect, with the first daily A-350 XWB service – an aircraft which boasts the latest, top-of the range, ultra-quiet technology – having launched on Sunday by Ethiopian Airlines.

Heathrow quieter than any time since the 1970s, despite double the aircraft..

As a result of incentives and evolving technology, Heathrow is now quieter than its been at any time since the 1970s, despite the doubling of aircraft movements. New data released today in the Heathrow’s Fly Quiet League table shows a 5.5% increase in the proportion of quieter, new generation aircraft – such as the A350 – being used at Heathrow compared with the same period last year.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Chief Executive said: “Heathrow shares a common objective with local residents: we want to make the skies around us quieter. The arrival of new, quieter aircraft and the start of our programme to install 50 new noise monitors will help us to accelerate the reduction in the noise impacts of Heathrow.

“Our new plan for a third runway means that we will reduce the number of people affected by noise even with expansion, while increasing the social and economic benefits that Heathrow provides.

“Heathrow expansion is no longer a choice between the environment or the economy. It will deliver for both. That’s why the Prime Minister can make the right choice and expand Heathrow.

“Heathrow’s “New Plan” for expansion, balances the national and local economic gain from expansion with the environmental impacts. Heathrow has committed to meet and, in most cases, exceed the conditions set out in the Airports Commission’s recommendation for Heathrow expansion, including on noise mitigation.

Download the full noise blueprint, here.

To celebrate Heathrow’s 70th anniversary we’ve caught up with NATS’ Adrian Dolan to find out what it’s like to be an Air Traffic Controller. Who are NATS? We’ve also taken a look at the company responsible for controlling the UK skies.

NATS provides air traffic navigation services to aircraft flying through UK controlled airspace and at numerous UK and international airports – including Heathrow. Each year NATS handle 2.4 million flights and 250 million passengers in UK airspace!

In addition to providing services to 13 UK airports, and managing all upper airspace in the UK, they provide services around the world spanning Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America.

How do NATS air traffic controllers manage air space?

UK airspace contains a network of corridors, or airways. These are usually ten miles wide and reach up to a height of 24,000 feet from a base of between 5,000 and 7,000 feet. They mainly link busy areas of airspace known as terminal control areas, which are normally above major airports. At a lower level, control zones are established around each airport. The area above 24,500 feet is known as upper airspace.

All of these airways are designated “controlled airspace”. Aircraft fly in them under the supervision of air traffic controllers and pilots are required to file a flight plan for each journey, containing details such as destination, route, timing and height.

The guiding principle of air traffic control is that safety is paramount. Controllers must keep the aircraft they handle safely separated using internationally agreed standards.They achieve this by allocating different heights to aircraft or by arranging minimum horizontal distances between them. These distances vary according to circumstances, but aircraft flying along the airways under radar surveillance, for example, are kept five nautical miles apart horizontally or at least 1,000 feet vertically.

Source: NATS

Time Based Separation (TBS) innovation at Heathrow

The operating procedure, called Time Based Separation (TBS), is a world-first at Heathrow, and came as a result of a partnership between NATS, Lockheed Martin and EUROCONTROL.

TBS has led to an overall 60% reduction in aircraft delays during windy conditions due to air traffic control management, with 25,000 minutes of delay time being saved in the month of November alone.

Under normal conditions NATS air traffic controllers land around 42 aircraft an hour at Heathrow, the world’s busiest dual runway operation, however that falls dramatically in a strong headwind when aircraft fly more slowly over the ground.

TBS allows aircraft operators to counteract the effect of wind on the landing rates by using live data from aircraft to adjust the separation between arrivals based on time rather than distance.

Meet air traffic controllers Steph Kelly, Paul Hooper and Ady Dolan

Ady Dolan and BBC 5 Live’s Stephen Nolan in the Heathrow Airport Air Traffic Control Tower. Source: @StephenNolan

Want to know what it’s really like to be an Air Traffic Controller? We’ve profiled three of the ATC stars here at yourHeathrow:

Find out more about NATS via their award-winning blog, here.

For information on Air Traffic Control careers with NATS please click here.

NOTE: This article was originally published in June 2016.

Few aircraft inspired imaginations more than Concorde, so to celebrate our 70th and this aviation icon we’ve caught up with former pilot Jock Lowe. Watch the video below of Jock reminiscing about his time flying Concorde with British Airways.

10 Concorde facts:

  • Concorde was created out of separate British and French projects which joined in 1962

  • There were only 20 ever built (6 of which were for testing, 7 each for both carriers to operate them – British Airways and Air France)

  • Length: 62.1m

  • Passenger capacity: 100

  • It’s cruising speed was 1,350mph (up to 60,000ft)! That’s 2,160kph – Mach 2.

  • Concorde had a flight range of 4,143 miles (6,667kms)

  • First commercial flight from Heathrow: Heathrow to Bahrain, BA300 on January 21, 1976

  • Last commercial flight from Heathrow: New York JFK to Heathrow, BA2 on October 24, 2003

  • Fastest Transatlantic Crossing: February 7, 1996 from New York to London flight in 2 hours 52 minutes.

  • Fred Finn holds the Guinness World Record for the most Concorde flights as a passenger. Between 1976 and 2003 he flew 718 times – all of them in the same seat, 9A.

Heathrow turns 70, celebrates with story prizes

On 1 May this year, we officially celebrated our 70th birthday and to help share the celebrations – we’re giving people the chance to share their Heathrow stories and win prizes.

To enter, visit stories.heathrow.com.

After almost 300 entries and 7,000 votes, we’re pleased to today announce the five winners of the 2016 Heathrow Vote Me Airside competition! The winners, their photos, and what the judges had to say, below.

In a close competition, our four judges have selected the following people as winners* of this year’s competition:

  • Akbarali Mastan

  • Guss A

  • Tariq Mayet

  • Imran Aslam

  • Wael Al-Qutub

The winners were selected from a shortlist which contained the 10 entries which received the highest votes during the competition.

“Emirates Airbus A380 Night Landing at London Heathrow” – Akbarali Mastan

This spectacular nighttime photo scored the highest with out judges. The judges said of this photo:

  • “Fantastic effort, very difficult to get night shots, perfect use of surrounding light, the image could with some noise reduction.”
  • “This is my favourite shot. Night-time images are notoriously hard to get right, but this one is perfect. It captures the port and starboard navigation lights illuminated and the incredibly bright landing lights. The special livery is an added bonus and the Emirates logo on the belly leaves those underneath as to no doubt who the aircraft belongs to. After Dubai, Heathrow sees more A380s than any other airport in the world.”

“Overall – wow! This is perhaps my favourite image from the shortlist due to the great contrast of the aircraft, lights and night time sky. A very well taken photo.”

“Etihad A380 departing Heathrow” – Guss A

The Etihad A380 livery is a big favourite among aviation fans – including our office! Judges said of this photo:

  • “Perfect side on and light, image needs some CCW rotation. There is a lot of ‘dead space’ top and bottom and would benefit from a 3×2 crop.”
  • “A striking image of one of my favourite liveries.”
  • “The Etihad A380 is one of the prettiest aircraft operating out of Heathrow and radiates style and prestige when the sun shines on its impressive livery. The shot is taken from a good vantage point, but the lack of symmetry and makes the buildings at the bottom appear as clutter, making for a rather untidy shot. However, good vantage points are scarce and the aircraft itself is well centred so good effort!”
  • “Really nice nice lighting in this shot though I would have loved to have seen this as a wider crop.”

“British Airways Boeing 747-400 The Queen of the Skies” – Wael Al-Qutub

There are few more iconic aircraft in the world than the Boeing 747 series! Judges said of this spectacular image:

  • “Beautifully taken image and nicely cropped. The lighting and colours make for a dramatic photo of the one of the more iconic aircraft in aviation history – the jumbo jet!”
  • “This shot of the classic queen of the skies is well focused and nicely captures the winter sunlight on the fuselage. The action shot of the nose-wheel landing gear bay closing and the extension of the leading edge slats and take off flaps add to the image.”
  • “The setting sun really helps with the lighting in this shot. I’d like to have seen a little more creatively and the landing gear all the way up, or all the way down – but that’s my preference. The image is well centred but a little dark in places.”
  • “Good crop by the photographer, and a really nice winter colour captured.”

“Vapour trails” – Tariq Mayet

As the heat and moisture of the aircraft engines’ exhaust hits the cool air it creates what’s known as “vapour trails”. Judges said of this image:

  • “A very cleverly taken image that involves a high skill level of photography. The angle of the aircraft and its proximity to touch down make this a wonderfully captured moment.”

“Well timed shot with the aircraft pulling lots of vapour from the wet conditions. The image is a great effort considering the challenging conditions.”

  • “Sometimes the wettest and most miserable weather conditions generate the best aircraft photos, with the spray, condensation and contrast between dark skies and brilliant white fuselages. This photo is a good example of this. The photo also has an interesting backdrop, with the snow fleet parked up at the Airside Operations Facility and the tail of a B747 at the No.1 Maintenance Base. The windsock shows a light southerly breeze, often associated with a warm front causing these weather conditions.”
  • “A rare event and a really nice capture. Perhaps could have cropped the aircraft a little higher in the frame.”

“Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 (B-KPH)” – Imran Aslam

The final winning shot was this

  • “Nice image and captured with a great clarity given the location of touch down.”
  • “A great back drop and early morning light works well on this subject. A 3×2 crop would work better, but the subject is fairly central in the frame.”
  • “Cathay’s B777s are a very regular site at Heathrow with 3 per day, replacing the B747 and A340 flights in the last 18 months. The huge engines seem to appear even larger with the autumn sunlight shining on them. “
  • “A really decent photo that would have benefited from better weather conditions on the day – e.g. blue skies.”

From all of us at Heathrow – thank you to all of the entrants in the competition this year! Stay tuned to our social media channels for future competitions and opportunities!


By Heathrow

Published 1st August 2016