The United Kingdom has historically been a forerunner in exploration and transportation. Just take a look at the colonial spread of the British Empire. Today the UK is more committed to providing modern-day transport via the signature Heathrow Airport. Located in the London Borough of Hillingdon near the south end, Heathrow London is the world’s sixth busiest international airport. In fact, it was the busiest airport in all of Europe for passenger traffic in 2015. Whether you are an airline enthusiast or planning an adventure that will land you in Heathrow, begin your journey here with fast facts about this lively London airport.
Airlines at Heathrow
Heathrow Airport serves 81 airlines over the course of four terminals—Terminal 2, 3, 4, and 5. Terminal 1 was open from 1968 to 2015. The smallest terminal is Terminal 2 with 40,000 square meters, while Terminal 5 takes the grand prize in size at over 353,000 square meters. Here is a list of the airlines featured at each terminal:
- Terminal 2—Aer Lingus, Icelandair, Eurowings, Star Alliance, and Flybe
- Terminal 3—Delta Air Lines, Middle East Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Virgin Atlantic, and Oneworld with some exceptions including most of the destinations for British Airways
- Terminal 4—Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, and SkyTeam airlines not served at Terminal 3
- Terminal 5—Iberia and Iberia Express, as well as most destinations of British Airways
Other airlines you’ll find at London Heathrow include Brussels Airlines, EgyptAir, Iran Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Vueling. The airport also caters to cargo airlines including Korean Air Cargo and DHL Aviation. If you are searching for discount European airlines, take note that only Flybe provides regularly scheduled flights via Heathrow.
Passenger Traffic Facts
In 2016, Heathrow Airport had 75.7 million total passengers who traveled via this UK corridor. By the way, the entire country of the United Kingdom has only 65.5 million residents. Passengers traveling to 194 destinations in 82 countries may find their way through Heathrow.
Which countries are most popular? In the Western Hemisphere, Heathrow Airport flies to the JFK Airport in New York the most with nearly 3 million passengers in transit for 2016. As for European destinations, Amsterdam rings supreme, while Dublin is the most popular destination in Great Britain’s neighboring Ireland. Other leading destinations for travelers in Heathrow include Hong Kong, China and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
A Bit of Heathrow History
Let’s start with the name, shall we? That name, Heathrow, means a row of houses by a heath and dates from the Middle Ages. Heathrow aka Heath Row existed as a hamlet pre-airport, which was located in Middlesex, England near the modern-day Greater London. Archeologists have uncovered a Neolithic settlement here, which goes way back to 10,200 BC. In the gravel roads around the airport artifacts from this era, including arrowheads and pottery, were excavated.
Fast forward several centuries, and we have the development of the Heathrow area. In 1944 the airport was established to be used for World War II military aircraft. Yet by the time the war was over, the airport was rebranded as the London Airport, which opened in 1946. Over the years the airport blossomed to include six runways in the 1950s, shaped in a lane-crossing hexagram design. Today, since the open skies agreement between the EU and the US was signed, Heathrow London has replaced the six lanes with two and become the crossroads of the world.