HEATHROW AIRPORT GUIDE



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Address: Heathrow Point West, 234 Bath Road, Harlington,
Middlesex, England, UK, UB3 5AP
Location: Heathrow airport is located 13.3 miles (21.4 km) west of central
Situated in the London borough of Hillingdon.
Latitude : 0.4614° W
Longitude : 51.4775° N
The International airport codes for Heathrow are:
IATA code is: LHR
ICAO code is: EGLL

INTRODUCTION
Heathrow is the only major international London Airport that can legitimately claim to be within London. While the London City Airport is truly within London proper it's a small airport mostly handling domestic and short haul flights. Heathrow Airport, alone among the 4 major airports serving London (Gatwick, Stansted, Luton), is just within the M25 motorway which now defines the Greater London borders. The airport is to the West of London and served by the M4 Motorway, A4 and A30 dual carriageways. The A4 (Bath Road) runs parallel with the northern border of the airport and is where the majority of the larger branded chain Heathrow hotels are located, with a few having views of the northern runway (several of the Renaissance hotel rear rooms have such a view.
The airport has 5 terminals. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are in the central part of the airport while Terminal 4 is to the south east away (close the cargo area of the airport) and terminal 5 being to the west of the airport grounds. Also  the south side is the Animal Quarantine Centre. The access to the main central areas since the mid 1950's has been via a tunnel under the airport grounds, just under 1/2 a mile long and 40 feet below ground level. This actually is below runway 09L/27R. On the approach to the entrance is a scale model of Concorde which has now become a feature of the airport. This entrance is the prime advertising billboard location for Heathrow's advertisers. Billboards are either side of the entrance as well as on the central Island on its approach.
Heathrow Concorde Model

Originally the entrance to the tunnel was a roundabout allowing for traffic to change direction without entering the airport. However to aid traffic flow this was removed. During an upgrade to the dual carriageway serving the tunnel a dedicated bus and London taxi lane was incorporated. This makes a huge difference to bus and London taxi journey times entering the airport areas during peak hours, notably early weekday mornings. 

Heathrow Airport in terms of international and intercontinental flights is the busiest airport not just in the UK but in the world. The airport hosts aircraft that fly to over 186 different airports in 90 countries across the globe and serving nearly 70 million passengers annually. The airport never closes and is open 24/7 365 days a year.

The airport takes its name from the village called 'Heath Row', that originally stood where terminal 3 is today and was demolished to make way for the construction of the airport proper in 1945. Though how the village came to be named that way nobody knows for sure. The area has a long history and a strange connection with it past. Before work commenced on terminal 5 archaeological research was conducted. Evidence was uncovered to show that 5,000 years ago the site was actually used as a 'spiritual runway' by druid high priests, either as a means of travel or as a means of communication with the spirit world. This relates to a 2.5 mile long 23 ft wide section strip of land by Terminal 5.

The control of noise at Heathrow Is a huge matter of concern for local residents who have battled for many years on the issue. Indeed the first compliant was received by the Ministry for Civilian Aviation in November 1946. Responsibility for noise is now handled by the Department for Transport (DfT). To comply with the regulation of noise from night flights there are no scheduled flight departures between 23:30 and 06:30.

Heathrow Airport has 2 runways, the Northern Runway and the Southern Runway. This allows each one to be dedicated to either landings or take-off's. They are alternated in use to lessen the noise impact on local residents. A third runway, the Cross-Runway (runway 23), was until recently used on very rare occasions when there were severe cross South westerly winds. Further it was only used for arriving aircraft. This cross-runway 23 has now been taken out of service permanently and it's used as part of a taxiway.
The Northern runway is 3,902m (4267.3 yards) in length and 45m (49.2 yards) wide.
The Southern runway is 3,658m (4000.4 yards) in length and 45m (49.2 yards) wide

Originally there were six runways, constructed in pairs at different angles to allow take-off and lands in all wind conditions. Modern requirements however have meant only the Northern and Southern Runways are capable of handling modern air traffic. The new runway will handle both take-off's and landings, called mixed mode. BAA have stated this would mean the need for terminal facilities North of the bath Road. If true this would devastate local communities and another long running saga along the lines of T5 can be expected.

A government white paper 'The Future of Air Transport', shows the UK government supports a new short runway of 2000 meters to allow for future expansion. This runway will be for narrow body aircraft.

Although today Heathrow, together with Gatwick and Stansted, are owned the BAA, a private company, this wasn't always the case. Starting life as the British Airports Authority this was a government owned body, but was privatised in July 1987.

Armed police patrols are a common site at Heathrow. This is not due to any recent events but has been the case for many years due to the history of IRA attacks on London and other past terrorist attacks on airports across the world. Security is normally extra heavy for El Al arrivals and departures. Indeed it was back on 17th April 1986 that semtex was found in the bags of a woman raying to board an EL Al flight (her boyfriend was from Jordan and had given them to her).

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