Business Focus Magazine explores Heathrow


By Heathrow

Published 31st October 2016

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Business Focus Magazine has this month taken an in depth look at Heathrow Airport in their latest issue.

We’ve been lucky enough to take a sneak peak at the issue and have provided an excerpt below. Enjoy!


“This has been our busiest 12 month period. 75 million passengers have travelled through Heathrow over the last year. In July alone we’ve had our busiest month to date with 7.5 million passengers. Within that month we had seven of our busiest days in history. We’ve continued to get busier and busier, keeping the place interesting and maintaining a buzz and energy about Heathrow at a peak every day. It’s been no sleepy hollow that’s for sure.”

“Heathrow’s year has been about more than just the numbers, however, they’ve been delivering quality with their quantity. The airport was awarded the Best Airport in Western Europe by Skytrax, and Provan credits this to the airport’s focus on the passenger experience.

“One of the USPs Heathrow has is we’re often named a best airport for shopping,” he says. “One of the key parts of the passenger experience is the ability to shop in the terminals. That’s what had us named best airport for shopping for the seventh year in a row, and the best terminal for the fifth year in a row. It’s been a great year for us.”

LOOKING BACK (Excerpt continued…)

It’s also a landmark year for the airport. 2016 marks the seventieth year since Heathrow opened as  civilian airport. Of course, over those seventy years it’s changed quite a bit.

“70 years ago our terminal building was a large marquee and a few passengers came from the BOAC flight to a tent and then out to London,” Provan says. “Now, 70 years later it’s the mass business we see today. Over that time we’ve had over 20 million flights and 2 billion passengers. We’ve spent a lot of time this year just remember and commemorating our very rich history.”

The celebrations have included the unveiling of a series of special plaques unveiling the high points of the airport’s history, including bygone memories such as the arrival of the Beatles in 1964 and Elizabeth II stepping onto sovereign soil for the first time as a reigning monarch, to more recent highlights such as the landing of the world’s largest passenger plane in 2008. These plaques all combine to showcase Heathrow’s unique place in the UK’s history and imagination.

As Provan points out, “Over the last 300 years the UK has always held the largest ports in the world. Heathrow is part of that grand legacy.”


What else is covered in the issue?

The issue takes a look at a selection of the over 300 companies that operate across the airport each day, including:

  • Omniserve and Blackjack (Customer Service services)

  • Cognizant (digital infrastructure)

  • Trinity (Fire & Security systems)

  • Cuidant Group (Recruitment)

More about Business Focus Magazine

Business Focus Magazine is a leading, bi-monthly business to business publication that keeps up with the latest developments in the business world by talking to the people that make them happen. Produced in Europe, but with a global outlook, Business Focus Magazine covers a multitude of sectors.

Looking at everything from investment and market trends to skills development and the latest technical innovations, we provide insights into the daily operations of leading businesses and organisations around the world.

To download the full issue for FREE, visit Business Focus Magazine’s website – here.

The Government has today announced its support for Heathrow expansion as its preferred option for increasing airport capacity.

The news was announced via a press release from the Department for Transport which began:

“In a major boost for the UK economy the government today (25 October 2016) announced its support for a new runway at Heathrow – the first full length runway in the south-east since the second world war. The scheme will now be taken forward in the form of a draft ‘National policy statement’ (NPS) for consultation.”

Heathrow has welcomed Government’s decision to support its expansion and confirmed it will begin work to deliver the new runway that will connect all of Britain to the world, bringing new jobs and economic growth to every nation and region.

The decision declares Britain “open for business”. Expanding Heathrow will keep Britain growing at the heart of the global economy, do more than any other infrastructure project to share economic growth all around the UK and deliver more competition and choice for passengers.

The Government’s decision follows the unanimous and unambiguous recommendation of the Airports Commission last summer after a two and a half year, £20m study. The Commission confirmed that expanding Heathrow would have the biggest economic benefits for the UK and can be done while reducing noise for local communities and in accordance with EU air quality law.

To find out more about the announcement, see a CGI video explaining our plans, and find out more about the benefits of Heathrow expansion – please visit out dedicated expansion site:

To celebrate the rise in the UK’s mini jetsetters, Heathrow has launched Top Tips from Tiny Travellers, a lighthearted film designed to help make the experience of the 1.7 million travellers who will fly in and out of Heathrow this half term as enjoyable as possible.

In the lead up to one of its busiest weeks for family travel, Heathrow has revealed the number of under fives taking their first flight has increased by 15%* compared to five years ago, with half a million families expected to travel through the airport this half term.

In the short film, a team of seasoned tiny travellers share some of their best airport tips, including making use of the free play areas, navigating security and Personal Shopping, kids-eat-free meals and complimentary pampering before it’s time to fly .The film comes as the new data reveals the average five-year-old of today is expected to fly over half a million miles* during their lifetime, the equivalent of flying to the moon and back. The top five most visited holiday destinations of these young travellers include America, India, United Arab Emirates, Canada and Italy.

Fiona Carleton, Head of Passenger Experience, said, “It is extremely important to us that each and every passenger who travels through Heathrow has a fantastic experience during their journey. We hope our tiniest travelers help to give passengers a fun insight in how to making the most of their time with us, whether they are seven or 70.”

Children under the age of 15 travel free on Heathrow Express and adults can save a further £18 by booking a Heathrow Express Duo Saver ticket online which gives two adults a 25% discount when travelling together. Details of the Heathrow Express Duo Saver ticket can be found here. Details of available Kids Eat Free restaurants during half term are available here.

Heathrow turns 70

Heathrow is this year celebrating its 70th anniversary after opening as London Airport in 1946. From humble beginnings, Heathrow has grown to now welcome over 70 million passengers a year!

Today, more than 80 airlines fly to over 180 destinations from Heathrow.

Follow the conversation on social using #HeathrowTinyTravellers!

*Statistics based on a child of five flying an average of 7,000 miles every year over 70 years and the distance of the moon being 225,623 miles from earth, at it’s closest.

Heathrow has released its results for the first nine months of the year, including a record 57.3 million passengers (+0.7%) and a strong 2.1% increase in cargo. The announcement comes as Heathrow stands ready to deliver expansion plans at the airport that will benefit passengers and the UK as a whole.

Alongside the record passenger numbers was an increase in revenue, up 1.2% to £2,093m, and adjusted EBITA, up 4.4% to £1,274m – reflecting lower costs and better value from Heathrow’s operations.

Importantly, Heathrow continued its strong customer satisfaction scores which saw the airport record an Airport Service Quality (ASQ) score of 4.14 (out of 5)!

During the month, Heathrow also outlined its Brexit Boost plan to help connect the UK to growth faster. The plan outlined how with expansion, Heathrow would look to add an additional 25,000 annual flights from 2021 on the existing runways.

This would help see benefits of Heathrow expansion delivered four years early, giving the British economy a £1.5bn ‘Brexit boost’ whilst a third runway is built (find out more, here).

Team GB Paralympians welcomed home at Heathrow Terminal 5 thanks to British Airways.

John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive Officer of Heathrow, welcomed the results, saying, “We are delighted to be named the best major airport in Europe. Heathrow’s passengers are getting better service at lower prices – and record numbers are choosing the UK’s hub airport. The Prime Minister is showing leadership and will decide on the critical national issue of Heathrow expansion in the next few days.”

“Heathrow is the right choice to help make Britain stronger and fairer for everyone – that’s why there is such broad support across the UK from Newquay to Inverness for our plans – and we stand ready to deliver the runway that will keep Britain a confident, outward looking trading nation as soon as we get the greenlight from Government.” – Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye

Heathrow, the UK’s hub airport, has launched the first flight aggregation Facebook tool Go-Heathrow, in partnership with Skyscanner, to help customers with their search for the best deal when flying from Heathrow.

The new tool sits within Heathrow’s Facebook platform, making it the first time this search based technology has been used on social media. Go-Heathrow allows Facebook users to search and book their Heathrow flights directly from the social media page.

The tool is easy to use and is designed to ensure users find the most competitive fares for their chosen destination across a wide range of airline and travel websites. This is the first time Heathrow has directly supported airline partners with ticket sales bringing together over 180 destinations in 85 countries from Heathrow together in one place.

Heathrow Head of Passenger Communications Marc Ellams said, “We are excited to be launching this new technology which gives Heathrow passengers a useful and innovative tool for getting the best fares and journey plan that suits their individual needs. This new technology aims to make planning the next adventure as simple as possible, bringing the world to our customer’s fingertips.”

Mike Ferguson, Senior Commercial Manager for Skyscanner, said, “We are delighted to have worked with Heathrow to create this bespoke and highly innovative new flight search tool for users. This is the first time Skyscanner has partnered with an airport to build a travel search tool within their own social media profile.”

“I believe this inventive travel search mechanism represents an exciting new way for travellers to engage with Heathrow and find their next holiday all within their Facebook feed.” – Skyscanner Senior Commercial Manager, Mike Ferguson

Visit to trial the new tool.

A summary of the new service is available here:

Heathrow this morning announced a surge in cargo volumes during the month of September as Britain’s hub airport showcased how it was best placed to support the UK’s post EU economic future.

As the UK embarks on a new global role outside of European Union membership, statistics today highlight that trade with emerging markets saw some of the biggest increases, with the Far East and Latin America showing double-digit growth (China up 13% and Brazil up 18%). Heathrow is Britain’s largest port, accounting for almost 30% of all UK exports by value outside of the EU last year while Gatwick served just 0.2%.

These figures were boosted by an increase in passenger numbers which saw the busiest September on record for Heathrow, as we welcomed 6.8 million travelers passing through our terminals. Long-haul markets again stole the spotlight with those traveling to destinations in China up 7% while India and Mexico both saw increases of 5% respectively.

Larger, quieter and more efficient aircraft continued to be a driver for growth in passenger volumes as airlines deploy more next generation Airbus A380s, A350s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

“The Prime Minister is clear that her Government will step up and do what’s right for Britain. Expanding our country’s largest port will give Britain’s business the best connected trading network in the world. We’ll show that we’re confident about our future and determined to make a success of Brexit.” – Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye

Heathrow announced plans to give Britain a “Brexit Boost” with an additional 25,000 flights on existing runways from 2021 – four years before a third runway would open. As well as adding vital extra capacity on existing routes, the end of EU regulations offers an opportunity to ring-fence some of the new slots for “Brexit Boost Routes” including new domestic connections and long-haul cities such as Osaka, Wuhan and Quito.

Read the full media release on our September traffic figures here.

Heathrow has unveiled the UK’s first airport Garden Gate – made up of 1680 living plants – at Terminal 3! The Garden Gate will be trialled for the next 6 months and if it’s successful, Heathrow will explore implementing more across the airport.

The installation is located at Gate 25 in Terminal 3 and includes English native Ivy and Peace Lilly among others. It was installed by urban greening specialists Biotecture who have also installed features at the Walkie Talkie Building and Edware Road tube stations in London.

Heathrow’s Garden Gate is its latest effort to make every journey better, following a record-breaking first half of 2016 which saw the highest passenger satisfaction scores to date. It will provide an eco-sanctuary within Britain’s busiest airport. Academic research points to a correlation between calm, comfort and relaxation and exposure to plants.

On average, 287,274 passengers go through Gate 25, Terminal 3, every year.

More about the Garden Gate

The Garden Gate is comprised of 7 panels, 1.8m high x 2.4m wide, each containing 240 plants. Each plant panel is fitted with a water reservoir and nutrient system which allows the wall to flourish for an extended period of time in an artificial environment. Advancements in LED technology enables indoor plant growth using less energy (e.g. more light and less heat).

The plant selection is largely based on early research conducted by Dr Bill Wolverton on behalf of NASA to prove that plants, namely the English Ivy and the Peace Lily, absorbed the air around them, translocated it to their roots, where organisms turned some air particles into food for the plant.

Director of Biotecture Richard Sabin explained about how the gate is just part of a rise in eco-technologies in the UK.

“The Garden Gate at Heathrow is the latest, and perhaps most iconic, living wall representing the advancement of eco-technologies in the UK. The world’s major cities are increasingly investing in green infrastructure, and the Garden Gate, both technically and ecologically, is cutting edge for its ease of installation, unique plant selection and LED lighting system,” Sabin said.

“As the nexus of transit and technology, transportation hubs are ideal locations for green infrastructure to become an investment in public health and wellbeing.” Director of Biotecture, Richard Sabin

Why not check out our flower map of the world that was in Terminal 5 recently? Click here to find out more.

Our 2016 Vote Me Airside money-can’t-buy airside prize tour at Heathrow took place on Friday 23 September – with our winners treated to an incredible day! From the Control Tower to aboard an American Airlines 777, this group of lucky aviation fans took 1000s of photos so we’ve decided to share the best of them alongside a recap of the day! Enjoy!

The day began with a trip up the Heathrow Air Traffic Control Tower where the team was met by NATS’ ATC Ady Dolan who explained how the controllers keep the world’s busiest 2 runway airport running. In addition to our 5 winners, we also had special guests Daniel Goz (creator of the Dantorp Aviation channel on youTube) and screener Gary Claridge-King (who also helped us judge the competition).

From this unique vantage point – some 100m above the runways – our group were lucky enough to witness a host of different aircraft taking off and landing – including the new Finnair A350, a British Airways A380, and an Air Canada 787-8 Dreamliner.

Thanks to the perfect sunshine on the day the London Eye, the Shard and Wembley Stadium were visible to the east and the north of the airport, while to the west our guests could see Windsor Castle!

All aboard American Airlines new Boeing 777-300

Next stop on the tour was checking out a new Boeing 777-300 thanks to our friends at American Airlines. Once aboard, the group were able to visit the cockpit, check out AA’s new state-of-the art first class product, see the new business class seating that includes lie flat beds, and explore the crew rests.

Our prize winners in front of one of American Airlines new Boeing 777-300s.

The aircraft is part of a £3 billion investment programme the airline is undertaking that will see it take delivery of over 500 new aircraft between 2015 and 2020! We’ve covered this in more detail, here, including a look inside at the new features on board AA’s fleet.

Next stop: Heathrow Airport Fire Service

After a quick stop for lunch at Terminal 2’s Perfectionists Cafe – owned by Michelin Starred Chef Heston Blumenthal – our group was back out on the tarmac taking photos from taxi-ways near the now closed Terminal 1. A guided tour of the Heathrow Airport Fire Service station and demonstration of one of the state of the art “Panther” fire truck’s in action was next up.

The Fire Service also got out their mobile stair vehicle which they use in situations involving high buildings and A380s. While atop the stairs, our group were lucky enough to have a Qantas A380 taxi past just metres in front of them – with winner Akbarali taking the stunning photo below.

This specialised vehicle is used to reach high buildings and assist with A380s.

The stunning Qantas A380 in front of the Heathrow Airport Control Tower. This photo was taken from atop the Heathrow Airport Fire Service’s stair vehicle. Source: Akbarali Mastan.

Ethiopian Airlines A350, Concorde, and the Southern Runway

The Airbus A350 is one of the quietest and cleanest aircraft ever made -as well as a new fan favourite (and one of ours in the office too) so the tour took a detour to visit Ethiopian Airlines’ own parked on stand 253! Ethiopian Airlines is only the second carrier at Heathrow using an A350 and they only began using the aircraft in August.

From there, the team had a brief stop off next to the British Airways Concorde, parked outside one of their maintenance areas. The day was rounded off by the chance to take photos from several different vantage points of aircraft landing on the Southern Runway (027L to be precise).

Our winners photographing an Emirates A380 touching down on the Southern Runway.

We caught up with the winners of our 2016 Vote Me Airside competition after their tour on 23 September to check out their favourite photos and moments from the day. The 5 winners were selected after over 300 entries, 7,000 votes and a tough judging process.

Tariq Mayet: “The whole day was very, very special”

“The whole day was very, very special.  It is hard to narrow it down to just one part, but if I had to, then I would say that the trip to the top of the ATC Tower was a particular privilege! The perspective one gets of the airport and the views of all the aircraft movements from the tower are just amazing and distinctly unique.  And to know that we were in the company of the best air traffic controllers in the world was special.”

“The Airbus A350 aircraft was my favourite of the day. We got to see Finnair (One World livery) and Ethiopian variants. The American Boeing 777-300ER was awesome as well, we got to view the cabin and cockpit as well as walk around the aircraft. The feeling you get standing next to the GE90 engine is ecstatic.

“Everything that we learned about the ATC operations was new information and most interesting.  Furthermore, it was interesting to hear about the Heathrow expansion plans to create the next generation of airport which will truly be architecturally as well as technologically advanced.”

“My favourite aircraft without a doubt is the Boeing 747.  It is an absolutely iconic aircraft and distinguishable from any angle, so seeing the BA 747-400 up close was a real thrill.”

Wael Al-Qutub: “It was a dream come true”

“My favorite and best part of the day was going up the Air Traffic Control Tower, it was fantastic for us #Avgeeks to have the chance to take pictures and videos from such a rare vantage point. It was a dream come true to see the amazing variety of airlines and aircraft from a “birds eye view” [the balcony]!

“It was also great to see my favorite aircraft, the Qantas Airbus A380, as it was being towed from the remote stands and dropped off to the gates so the passengers could board.”

“I would recommend all avgeeks entering next year’s Vote Me Airside competition to get as many votes as possible, from family and friends. I’d also suggest posting on social media regularly!”

Imran Aslam: “Going forward, it will certainly change my thinking the next time that I board an aircraft”

We were blessed with great weather on the day and the view from atop the Control Tower balcony was just breathtaking. Besides the aircraft movements, I was able to see Windsor Castle, The Shard and The London Eye.”

“I was in awe looking down upon aircraft such as the Boeing 747 as well as Airbus A380 whilst they were taxiing below me. It felt rather surreal as to date I would always look up to them when photographing. ”

“As a passenger we rarely think about or get the chance to see what it takes to get us to our destination. The Vote Me Airside day certainly gave me a great understanding of the complexity and behind the scenes consolidated effort that is needed to keep Heathrow running smoothly. Going forward, it will certainly change my thinking the next time I board an aircraft!”

“My favourite aircraft is the Boeing 777-300/777W. So you can only imagine the excitement which I had to contain on realising that we were going to get an up close and personal tour of the American Airlines 77W. I shall never forget standing next to the mighty GE90 engine and feeling so small. I am thankful to AA for allowing us to visit the cockpit as well as seeing the crew rest area. I shall never see the 77W again in the same way,  thanks to this amazing tour.”

Guss A: “I was surprised to also find out those who worked at Heathrow were as passionate about aviation as us spotters”

“By far my favourite part of the day was visiting the control tower, which I had wanted to visit for a number of years. I loved standing in the tower balcony and seeing all the various aircraft from a completely different angle and perspective. The staff in the tower were very flexible with us, allowing us more time to spend photographing the planes.”

“It was fascinating to find out that many of the employees who work at Heathrow do not only see it as their job, but an important part of their lives. Many of them were very passionate about Heathrow and were very excited as to what its future holds i.e. with the potential for expansion.”

“I was surprised to find out those who worked at Heathrow were as passionate about aviation as us spotters, for example our bus driver had already obtained his PPL while our tour guide Joe was in the process of becoming a pilot and would fly in his spare time. We were lucky to be able to ask them questions throughout the day and learn from their vast experience.”

“The aircraft I enjoyed seeing the most that day was the A350. We were given the opportunity to get up close and personal with the new Ethiopian A350 and were also lucky enough to catch the Finnair Oneworld A350 from the tower balcony. Both have been difficult to catch in the past due to their awkward arrival times, so seeing them both on the day was definitely amazing.”

Akbarali Mastan: “The Rosenbauer Panther fire trucks demonstration was quite a show”

“As an aviation enthusiast, I was ‘On Top of the World’ with the visit up the Control Tower. The view of so many aircraft movements from above, especially the elegant Boeing 747 taxiing right below us while we were there, was absolutely stunning . It was great to meet Ady Dolan who explained briefly about runway operations and provided a summary of events occurred that morning.”

“The time we spent with Fire & Rescue Department was completely new to me where they walked us around facilities including the communication room. The Rosenbauer Panther fire trucks demonstration was quite a show… the water canon, speed, design, technology was noteworthy.”

“The Airbus A350 aircraft was my favourite of the day. We got to see Finnair (One World livery) and Ethiopian variants. The American Boeing 777-300ER was awesome as well, we got to view the cabin and cockpit as well as walk around the aircraft. The feeling you get standing next to the GE90 engine is ecstatic.”

Footage from YouTuber Dantorp Aviation

We had another special guest along on the day – Daniel Goz, the creator and owner of youTube channel Dantorp Aviation! The day coincided with Dan reaching 50,000 subscribers on youTube so he made this video to commemorate the day!

From all of us at Heathrow – thank you to everyone that entered the 2016 Vote Me Airside Competition! We love hearing from aviation enthusiasts and seeing your great pics so keep tweeting them to us!

We’re already looking at holding the Vote Me Airside Competition, and other opportunities, in 2017 so stay tuned to our social media feeds.

If you haven’t already, read the full recap of the Vote Me Airside tour day here.


By Heathrow

Published 5th October 2016