Freddie Mercury set for take-off at Heathrow Airport ahead of new Queen movie


By Heathrow

Published 5th September 2018

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British Airways and Heathrow baggage handlers ‘escape from reality’ in celebration of Queen legend Freddie Mercury’s birthday and Twentieth Century Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody, in cinemas October 24th.

• Mercury worked as a Heathrow baggage handler before he joined Queen in 1970
• British Airways and Heathrow staff will celebrate Freddie For A Day on his birthday ahead of the upcoming release of the Queen movie BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
• To pay tribute to the legend, baggage handlers have teamed up with Strictly Come Dancing choreographer to bring Freddie Mercury moves to Terminal 5
• Other activities at Heathrow for will include Queen songs on Arrivals boards and memorabilia in Departure Lounge
• BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is released at UK cinemas on 24th October
• Video available to download here

LONDON, UK – He handled the heights of rock stardom as lead singer of Queen, but few are aware of Freddie Mercury’s days handling baggage at Heathrow Airport.

Now, to celebrate Freddie For A Day which marks the rock legend’s birthday on September 5th and the upcoming release of Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises film BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, Heathrow and British Airways will ‘escape from reality’ to pay tribute to Freddie in spectacular fashion.

Heathrow Terminal 5 arrivals will come alive in celebration of the Queen frontman, as baggage handlers perform Mercury-inspired dance moves, choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor choreographer Lyndon Lloyd.

Following weeks of rehearsals, the baggage handlers will Break Free from their routine and astonish passengers with moves inspired by the charismatic rock star, who worked at the airport nearly 50 years ago, shortly before joining Queen and packing arenas around the world.

“Freddie’s” to get VIP access with British Airways on September 5th

Any travellers landing at Terminal 5 on September 5th can also look out for Queen songs on Arrivals boards, whilst Queen memorabilia will go on display in the departures area next month.

To celebrate the singer’s birthday on September 5, any customer called Freddie, Frederick or the legend’s real name, Farrokh, who is departing from Terminal 5 will be invited, along with their traveling companions, to use British Airways’ First lounge, accessed through the exclusive First Wing.

The celebrations, which will help raise awareness for Queen’s charity The Mercury Phoenix Trust, are in anticipation of the cinema release of BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, a foot-stomping tribute to Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer.

The film traces Mercury’s meteoric rise from his unlikely beginnings and features scenes at Heathrow, where he worked whilst living in Feltham, before going from bags to riches and becoming one of the most iconic rock stars of all time.

Adam Dewey, one of British Airways’ baggage managers, who stars in the video, said “Freddie Mercury is an undisputed rock legend and it has been an absolute blast planning his birthday celebrations at Heathrow, where he once worked.”

“Myself and the other baggage handlers taking part have put everything into these dance routines and we can’t wait to see the faces on holidaymakers when they strut their stuff in the arrivals hall! The new film Bohemian Rhapsody has proved a great inspiration for all of us and we can’t wait to be hot-stepping our way to the premiere next month!”

Virinder Bansal, a Baggage Service Manager at Heathrow, who also stars in the video said: “Freddie Mercury was a truly British icon and I am delighted to ‘Break Free’ and celebrate his iconic life with my colleagues.”

“We hope passengers at Terminal 5 enjoy our surprising and unique welcome to the UK, before we return to work. After all, The Show Must Go On”.

Heathrow Terminal 5 will celebrate Freddie Mercury Day on Wednesday 5th September. BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is released at UK cinemas on 24th October from Twentieth Century Fox.

More airlines are modernising their fleet to incorporate newer, quieter aircraft. Over 1 in 5 aircraft landing at Heathrow this year are expected to be ‘Chapter 14 Low’ – the quietest aircraft available.

  • Latest Fly Quiet and Green results see Aer Lingus, SAS and BA (short-haul) land podium finish in race to be the ‘quietest and greenest’ from April to June this year

  • Turkish Airlines is the latest carrier to upgrade its fleet of aircraft and make an impressive leap in the quarterly league table

Results from Heathrow’s latest Fly Quiet and Green quarterly league table – ranking Heathrow’s busiest 50 airlines based on their performance from April to June  –  proves airlines are working hard to modernise their fleet and advance their position in the table. Heathrow has estimated more than one 1 in 5 aircraft landing at the airport this year are set to be ‘Chapter 14 Low’ – the quietest type of aircraft available – an increase from the 16% seen in 2017.

Leading the charge this quarter is Turkish Airlines (long-haul), who are the latest airline to modernise their fleet to include more Boeing 777’s. The Turkish carrier has moved into 17th place on the league table, up 25 spots from last quarter. Improved ability to fly within the specified departure routes known as ‘noise preferential routes’ (NPRs) has also helped improve their position.

Scandinavian Airlines have been knocked off the top spot by Aer Lingus, which has moved up three places from last quarter to claim first. The Scandinavian carrier now sits in second place, followed closely by British Airways (short-haul) in third. The top three performers scored highly in six of the seven noise and emission metrics used to rank airlines. All three have shown a clear upward trend in their use of a quieter arrivals procedure “Continuous Descent Approach” (CDA) and better adherence to the NPRs.

Another strong performer is Oman Air which have also been working closely with the Heathrow team to improve their position by 11 places from last quarter.  Saudi Arabian Airlines are expected to make improvements over the next quarters, due to their active engagement with Heathrow’s operational team. The airline has also just taken delivery of a new system which allows them to see how each aircraft has performed on measures like CDA and track keeping,  within 20 minutes of arriving at Heathrow, and for them engage with the flight crews to drive up performance.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability said:

“The latest league table results raises the bar for airlines, who have shown that they remain committed to flying quieter and greener.

“Our local communities are at the heart of this programme. Heathrow will continue to work closely with our airline partners to improve results even further, as part of our mission to be a better neighbour.”

– Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability, Matt Gorman

Each quarter, Heathrow publishes this league table showing a red/amber/green rating for seven noise and emissions criteria. In doing so, Heathrow not only aims to recognise good performance but ensures our noise and emissions experts are able to provide airlines with regular feedback and identify specific areas to be targeted for improvement. Heathrow will engage with airlines showing red results in the latest league table to improve their rating.

Essex based start-up Energy Crop Solutions and local resident Andrew Swift have won Heathrow’s first ever Sustainable Innovation Prizes, beating other applications from SMEs across the UK and airport workers.

The winners were judged as the best solutions which could solve some of the sustainability challenges facing airports and the aviation industry more widely.

Entries were invited to focus on three areas as part of Heathrow’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainability work: using waste as a resource, sustainable and low carbon materials, and measuring and enhancing quality of life locally.

The six chosen finalists pitched to a senior judging panel including:

  • Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability & Environment

  • Katherine Leahy, Heathrow’s Director of Airport Operations

  • Chris Annetts, Heathrow’s Retail Director

  • Fiona Carleton, Future Heathrow Director

  • Plus a guest judge Jonathan Counsell, IAG’s Director of Sustainability

As a winner of the Innovation Prize, Energy Crop Solutions will receive £20,000 in funding and the opportunity to use the airport as a “test bed” for their sustainability solution. Energy Crop Solutions plan to work with local charity Green Corridor to explore how different willow varieties provide acoustic, air quality and aesthetic improvements for local residents. The company will also explore if the willows can be used to fuel the airport’s on-site biomass boiler.  If the results are favourable, Energy Crop Solutions may have the opportunity to expand this project more widely across the airport.

A similar innovation competition, run internally to engage colleagues who work at the airport was won by Maidenhead resident Andrew Swift. His winning idea is to use the airport’s plastic waste for its road surfacing. Heathrow will fund research into Andrew’s winning idea with its university partners, which could lead to an on-airport trial.

The strength and creativity of the entries received this year has encouraged the airport to launch a second prize early in 2019.  Five honourable mentions were given to the other finalists, and Heathrow is exploring whether these ideas can also be supported in some way at the airport:

  • Cheshire- based Driver Net, which has established a smart logistics app which would be tested for its potential to improve operational efficiency and cut vehicle emissions from freight deliveries;

  • London-based ForestCar – an innovative airport car sharing service involving peer-to-peer lending;

  • Dorset- based ECO360 which provides recyclable cardboard furniture and suggested trialling these in specialist airport applications;

  • Hertfordshire-based Urban Control, which put forward low-cost noise detection monitoring combined with machine learning to determine specific sources of noise;

  • Leeds – based Yellow Label – a tech start-up seeking to cut food waste communicating the availability of discounted food to consumer.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow Director of Sustainability and Environment said:

“The creativity and ingenuity from all the entries we received has shown us the value of our Innovation Prize.

“We look forward to seeing the results of the research and trials from our winners, and how they will help us think outside of the box to tackle our biggest environmental challenges at the airport.”

– Heathrow Director of Sustainability and Environment, Matt Gorman

Winner Gary Crooks,  from Energy Crop Solutions, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to be selected as a winner of the Sustainable Innovation Prize. Working with Heathrow has given us a unique opportunity to demonstrate the benefits now possible from the latest willow cultivars and 2nd generation biomass.

“With this amazing opportunity we will demonstrate the benefits of willow for air quality, bio diversity and noise reduction for the local communities.”

– Gary Crooks, Energy Crop Solutions

We will also highlight the use the greatly improved 2nd generation biomass accelerating its adoption across the UK. We are excited to explore the opportunities that winning the prize presents and can’t wait to get started.”

Winner of the internal Sustainable Innovation Prize,  Andrew Swift said:

“I was very surprised and pleased to not only to have my idea short listed but to end up an eventual winner of the Heathrow’s Centre of Excellence innovation prize.”

“The world slowly is waking up to the big issue plastic is causing our environment and here at Heathrow I can see the desire to be an industry leader in making a difference.”

– Andrew Swift, Winner of the Internal Sustainable Innovation Prize


By Heathrow

Published 3rd September 2018