Heathrow Airport is the largest of the six airports around London and is with nearly 80 million passengers a year in the top ten of the busiest airports in the world. Heathrow is the base for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic and is located about 23 km west of central London.
The history of Heathrow Airport dates back to 1929, in which year a small airport was opened near the hamlet of Heathrow, which name it got many years later. The airport was expanded in the Second World War, originally with the idea of using it for military long-haul flights to the Far East, but by the time the construction was completed, the war was over. After the war, the airport received a civil aviation destination and opened in 1946 as London Airport. The name Heathrow Airport was given in 1966.
In the 1950s Heathrow had six (short) runways in the form of a hexagram. With the advent of jet engines it became necessary to extend it. Only two of the original six have been extended and are still in use. On aerial photographs, the old structure is still visible, with the four unused lanes now being used as taxiways.
Heathrow has four terminals, numbered 2 through 5. The old Terminal 1 closed in 2015 and will be merged with Terminal 2. The newest Terminal 5 opened in 2008 at a cost of 4.3 billion pounds. This new terminal is used by British Airways and Iberia; terminal 2 by Star Alliance companies, Terminal 3 by OneWorld and Terminal 4 by Skyteam.
Heathrow Airport is located about 23 km west of central London.
Heathrow is one of the easiest airports near London in terms of public transport. There are several options to go to London city center:
The Heathrow Express departs for Paddington Station every 15 minutes, takes about 15 to 20 minutes and costs GBP 16.50 for a single trip. The trains leave from Heathrow Central Station (Terminal 2 and 3) and Terminal 5. The Heathrow Connect is a stopover to Paddington and departs only from Heathrow Central Station (single trip GPB 5). In addition, you can also use the London Underground Piccadilly Line that stops at all terminals. A trip to the center takes about three-quarter of an hour and a ticket costs GPB 5.50.
All local and regional buses depart from the Heathrow Airport central bus station. Every 30 minutes there is a bus to London Victoria Coach Station (40 minutes at GPB 4.00, order online). At night, when the trains and Underground do not go you can use the N9 night bus (over one hour, GPB 2).
See for tickets and schedule: trains: heathrowexpress.com .
Outside each terminal are the famous black cabs waiting. The duration and cost of a trip to central London is highly dependent on the hustle and bustle of the day and can range from 45 minutes to two hours with a fare of easily GPB 55. It is cheaper to order a minicab beforehand: Heathrow Airport Taxi, for example, offers a ride to London SW1 for GPB 35.
Website of the airport taxi company : taxiheathrowlhr.co.uk.
All prices quoted here were found in June 2017
Most flights from Heathrow Airport are to Amsterdam and to Chicago but there are many more flights to other destinations as well, most of them by British Airways. Every day there are flights to 49 destinations from Heathrow Airport. Here are the most popular destinations: