Heathrow launches Sound Escapes Competition, giving passengers the chance to win £500


By Heathrow

Published 31st August 2018

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Heathrow invites the public to capture the holiday feeling by sharing their genuine Sound Escapes. 

  • Passengers are invited to share submissions of distinctive holiday sounds;

  • The airport is collaborating with award-winning composer and sound artist Nick Ryan;

  • Sounds will be combined to create a unique, captivating and immersive soundscape.

Heathrow – Europe’s largest hub airport – is encouraging travellers to go one step further in capturing their holiday moments this year by asking them to capture their perfect Sound Escapes, creating an even more evocative way of capturing memories than a classic photo.

It is well known that brains connect sounds to emotions, making it an important part of the feeling and memory of a holiday. From the buzz of children’s laughter and soft rustling palm trees to local musician’s beats, lapping sea waves and city cabs honking, these distinctive holiday sounds capture the very essence of a holiday. Submissions by the public over four months, will be refined and collated into a captivating and immersive soundscape by award-winning composer and sound artist Nick Ryan.

Heathrow has just seen one million travellers pass through the airport over the August Bank Holiday, with a peak of over 125,000 departing on Friday 24 August. Although the school holidays are nearly over, the UK’s holiday exodus remains strong across the year. September will see over 113,000 travellers predicted to depart on Saturday 1st while October and November are forecast to see highs around Thanksgiving, half term and weekend city breaks.

With holidays varying from two weeks on a sun-drenched beach to cultured city break and adventurous winter skiing to relaxing exotic retreat, it is thought that the same part of the brain in charge of processing the senses is also responsible for storing emotional memories. With sound cues being key to lasting memories of trips, noises that are unique to a special break can transport us back in time and inspire us to visit new destinations.

Holidaymakers are invited to submit up to a minute of their sounds to soundescapes@heathrow.com, with the resulting one-of-a-kind soundtrack, created by award-winning composer and sound artist Nick Ryan, revealed in January 2019 for travellers to experience, enjoy and use as inspiration for the next getaway.

Nick Ryan, British Academy Award-winning composer and sound artist, comments:

We all tend to record holiday memories with cameras, yet I believe that listening to the sound of a voice or a place can trigger far more intense memories than a photo.”

“I am intrigued to hear which sounds holidaymakers bring back from their breaks and look forward to combining hundreds of these, from the thousands of people who jet away every year into an immersive audio portrait of our Sound Escapes”.

– Nick Ryan

Ross Baker, Chief Commercial Officer at Heathrow, comments:

“At Heathrow, we’re proud of helping our passengers create precious memories and experiences that they’ll treasure forever. There’s no better memory than that of a perfect holiday to leave you wanting more.”

“Our inaugural Sound Escapes is an innovative way of reinforcing the wonder and delight of memories across the globe.”

– Chief Commercial Officer, Ross Baker 

People are invited to submit holiday sounds as an either a .wav or .mp3 at: soundescapes@heathrow.com

One of the lucky winners will also go into a prize draw to win £500 shopping vouchers to spend when flying through Heathrow.

This weekend, Heathrow welcomed its first flight arriving directly from the Chinese megacity of Chongqing. Operated by Tianjin Airlines, this thrice weekly service will be able to transport up to 81,000 passengers a year and offer space for 3,744 tonnes of annual exports and imports to this megacity in the Chinese interior.

For the second year, Heathrow has partnered with the Department for International Trade ‘Exporting is GREAT Campaign’ to fund 20 SME’s exporting ambitions​. These include outstanding companies that support refugee learning programmes, gourmet crisp producers and a family run cycling business.

  • SME’s will be awarded a total of £40,000 to support international trade missions and foreign market research​

  • This year’s winners include designers, manufacturers and retailers from across the UK all looking to share their products and expertise with the wider world

The programme, now in its second year, sees Heathrow working in partnership with the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) ‘Exporting is GREAT Campaign’, to award each SME £2,000 to fund their trade missions as they look to expand their businesses abroad.

In addition to receiving the grant, the winners will be offered guidance from DIT International Trade Advisers and may even be put in contact with other international networks that will be able to assist them as they look to establish themselves in markets further afield. When departing from Heathrow, these businesses will also be given a Plaza Premium lounge pass for their travels.

Some of this year’s winners include:

  • NEMI Tea – A London-based tea company that makes biodegradable tea pyramids and employs refugees to sell these products enabling them to learn English and gain experience before entering the job market. The company plans to use the grant to attend trade shows in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
  • MamaBabyBliss – A Hertfordshire-based business that offers parent and baby classes, workshops, yoga inspired workouts, pregnancy massage treatments and produces multi-award-winning vegan baby products. MamaBabyBliss is looking to showcase their services and products at the ‘Best of British’ Trade Show in Shanghai this year.
  • Pearson Cycles – A Richmond-based family business established in 1860. The business sells bikes, clothing and accessories and plans to move into markets which are receptive to genuine British heritage companies, such as Taiwan, by attending the Taipei Cycle Show.
  • Premier Packaging Solutions – A Northern Ireland-based business that manufactures luxury packaging which is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic packaging. Premier Packaging Solutions currently exports to Malta, Slovenia, Hungary, Ireland and the States and is looking to break into the Canadian market.
  • Reza Wood Designs – A Scottish business that recycles whisky barrels from local distilleries and transforms them into one of a kind handcrafted gifts for Scotch whisky lovers around the world. Reza Wood Designs is planning to use their grant to enter the Japanese market.
  • Savoursmiths – A Duxford-based business that produces gourmet crisps, cut from home-grown local potatoes grown on a family farm, before being batch cooked by hand. This brand is working to become a global business and begin trading in the Middle East and Asia.

The ‘World of Opportunity Programme’ ran from 8 June – 14 July of this year. Nearly 150 applications were received, and the winning entries were chosen by a panel of experts including Heathrow Chairman Lord Deighton and Parveen Thornhill, London and Devolved Administration Director for the Department of International Trade.

Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s Executive Expansion Director said:

“We’re thrilled to be working with the DIT for the second year to support these entrepreneurs as they look to expand their businesses abroad.

Our airport plays a crucial role connecting British people, goods and services to the world, and now with the World of Opportunity programme we’re able to help these businesses as they begin their exporting journeys.

– Heathrow’s Executive Expansion Director, Emma Gilthorpe.

Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, said:

“We’re delighted to have partnered with Heathrow once again on the World of Opportunity Programme. With last year’s winning SMEs going on to secure major export wins in markets across the globe, we look forward to supporting the success of this year’s cohort.

“Businesses that export are more productive and resilient, creating more jobs and paying higher wages.”

Every day, the UK’s world-class, innovative businesses are seizing opportunities in new overseas markets – but there is a vast potential for growth, and our new export strategy sets out just how we will further boost the delivery of quality British goods and services.

– Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, Baroness Fairhead

Full list of SMEs in ‘World of Opportunity Programme’:

  • Julia Booker Paintings LTD – Cardiff, Wales
  • International Glass Consultants LTD – Tyne and Wear, North East
  • Savoursmiths – Cambridge, East of England
  • Direct Access Consultancy – Cheshire, North West
  • Omicyber Security – Shirley, West Midlands
  • Premier Packaging Solutions – County Down, Northern Ireland
  • Alan Harper Composites – Saltash, South West
  • Visit Football – Falmouth, South West
  • Torr Scientific – Bexhill-on-Sea, South East
  • LMK Thermosafe LTD  –  Suffolk, East of England
  • MamaBabyBliss – Hertfordshire, South East
  • Pearson Cycle Specialists – Richmond, London
  • Reza Wood Designs – Glasgow, Scotland
  • NEMI – London
  • Armadillo Merino – Derbyshire, East Midlands
  • Vigiles Group Ltd – Bristol, South West
  • Vanassibara Limited – Wraysbury, London
  • Horizon Works – Newcastle Upon Tyne, North East
  • Janet’s List Limited – London
  • LF Markey – London


Heathrow has recorded its busiest ever day as tourists flocked to the UK in July, with over a quarter of a million passengers travelling through the airport on 19 different days in the month.

The 29th of July became Heathrow’s busiest ever with nearly 262,000 passengers welcomed to the airport in 24 hours. In total, over 7.8 million passengers travelled through the UK’s hub airport during the month – an increase of 3.7% on 2017 and the 21st consecutive record month for Heathrow.

The airport’s already popular North American routes saw significant growth of 8.1%, a total of 1.8 million passengers driven by larger, fuller aircraft. These figures reiterate the need to extend the use of self-service e-gates to nations such as the United States and Canada in order to ease border congestion.

Passenger numbers for Asia-Pacific also climbed by 4.2% following new services from Hainan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines, connecting the UK to Changsha and Xi’an and Qingdao.

In the past two years Heathrow has welcomed 9 new routes to Chinese destinations.

Cargo, construction supply chain progress, Louis Vuitton, and Heathrow expansion…

Cargo growth to emerging markets like China, Turkey and Brazil helped over 140,000 metric tonnes of cargo travel through Heathrow in July.

The month also saw Heathrow complete its nationwide tour of the 65 longlisted sites for potential logistics hubs to help build the expansion of the airport.

Heathrow’s search for innovation partners for the project also saw the completion of its first stage with over 100 expressions of interest lodged.

The airport also announced the arrival of two new retail spaces – a Louis Vuitton pop-up store in Terminal 4 and a Spuntino in Terminal 3, both are set to open in Winter 2018.

It’s brilliant to see even more international visitors coming to the UK and supercharging the country’s economy this summer. However, too often their first impression of the UK is a long queue for immigration. The Home Office should let visitors from low risk countries, such as the US, use the same e-gates as EU visitors to give them a warm welcome to Britain.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow CEO

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said, “It’s brilliant to see even more international visitors coming to the UK and supercharging the country’s economy this summer. However, too often their first impression of the UK is a long queue for immigration.”

“The Home Office should let visitors from low risk countries, such as the US, use the same e-gates as EU visitors to give them a warm welcome to Britain.”

Today Heathrow announces that it is the first UK airport to use Textio to highlight unconscious bias in the airport’s job listings

  • Heathrow are using Textio to highlight unconscious bias in job adverts – other companies who use the programme report a 23% increase in female applicants

  • In September, Heathrow will launch the airport’s first career returners programme supporting individuals looking to step back into professional roles

  • Announcements follow Heathrow’s signing of the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter at this year’s Farnborough Air Show

The move ensures that the airport uses the most inclusive language to publicise its job opportunities, with the aim of encouraging more historically underrepresented people to apply for roles. The investment in the new technology comes just weeks after the signing of the Women in Aviation and Aerospace and at a key time for Heathrow as the airport prepares for expansion.

As Heathrow continues its work to deliver the third runway, the airport is planning for a significant increase in the number of colleagues and introducing a raft of measures that will ensure a more diverse talent pool is being accessed.

Implementing Textio to Heathrow’s selection process

Textio works by scanning text and comparing it to over 370 million other live job listings, before suggesting more inclusive language. The augmented writing programme considers the local language, the sector, as well as the level of the role being listed to work out the most appropriate wording.

The software uses a combination of natural language processing and AI to constantly update itself on which language patterns attract the most diverse mix and help companies fill roles faster with more qualified applicants.

Alternative HR programmes

Heathrow will also launch a Career Returners programme this September, supporting men and women who have taken a career break of two years or more, such as parents and carers, as they return to the workplace.

Both announcements coincide with the relaunch of Heathrow’s internal women’s network, Altitude, who work to guarantee that gender is never a barrier to career progress at Heathrow. The network’s purpose is to empower women to reach their full career aspirations and inspire colleagues across the business – for example showcasing the company’s role models.

The news follows Heathrow’s signing of the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter at this year’s Farnborough Airshow. The Charter aims to see gender equality in the aviation and aerospace industries by supporting the progression of women to senior roles in the sectors.

Heathrow is working to achieve this through setting targets and driving change through a number of measures including the implementation of the Textio software, the launch of the Career Returners Programme and the relaunch of the Women’s Altitude Network.

We’re delighted to announce this latest raft of initiatives that will ensure that Heathrow recruits from a diverse and inclusive talent pool.

As we continue to refine our expansion plans and look to significantly increase the number of people working at our airport, it is crucial that we do all that we can to attract the most talented individuals to Heathrow and create more gender equality in our sector.

– Fiona Tice, Heathrow Talent and Development Director


By Heathrow

Published 9th August 2018