London Heathrow Airport Adds £5 Drop Off Charge

From Monday 1 November 2021, a £5 charge will apply to vehicles dropping off passengers at the forecourts of London Heathrow Airport terminals.

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Terminal 3 Forecourt, London Heathrow Airport (Image Credit: Heathrow)

On Monday 1 November 2021 London Heathrow Airport will introduce a £5 charge for all vehicles dropping off departing passengers at its terminal forecourts.

This will apply to all vehicles, including private hire cars. There are limited exemptions and discounts for Blue Badge holders, emergency vehicles, motorbikes, coaches and staff buses.

Black cab taxis registered with London Taxi and Private Hire will benefit from a 100% discount until 1 April 2022 to allow Transport for London to consult on changes to meter charges. Private Hire Vehicles do not benefit from this discount.

The charge will apply 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are no given times or circumstances where it will be waived for all passengers.

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London Heathrow Terminal 3 To Reopen On 1 June 2021

Heathrow Terminal 3 will reopen on 1 June 2021 with a dedicated arrivals facility for passengers arriving from countries the UK government has placed on its “red list”.

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Heathrow Airport At Night
Heathrow Airport At Night (Image Credit: Heathrow)

London Heathrow Terminal 3 will reopen on Tuesday 1 June 2021 with a dedicated arrivals facility for passengers arriving from countries the UK government has placed on its “red list”.

This follows criticism that passengers arriving from “amber” and “green” countries have faced long queues at the UK border and have consequently spent a long time in close proximity to passengers from “red” countries who are required to quarantine on arrival at a dedicated facility.

Terminal 3, along with Terminal 4, closed to passenger flights over a year ago as Heathrow Airport progressively consolidated all airlines at Terminals 2 and 5 in response to COVID-19.

It is planned that the dedicated arrivals facility will transfer to Terminal 4 as soon as practicable. This should then allow Terminal 3 to fully reopen to passenger flights so that airlines such as Delta and Virgin Atlantic can transfer all their flights back to Terminal 3.

At the time of publication there has been no comment from individual airlines as to how the new arrangement will work. It’s not clear whether aircraft will continue to arrive at Terminals 2 and 5, with passengers bussed to Terminal 3 to clear the UK border.

The dedicated arrivals facility will only apply to flights direct from “red list” countries, and not to passengers who have travelled indirectly via amber / green countries.

Passengers due to arrive from “red list” countries from 1 June 2021 are advised to check the latest guidance from Heathrow and the status of their bookings with their airline.

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easyJet & JetBlue Fail To Acquire Heathrow Slots

easyJet & JetBlue have been unsuccessful in applying for slots at London Heathrow Airport for the summer 2021 season.

London Air Travel » Airports » London Heathrow

JetBlue Airbus A321 Aircraft, Boston Logan International Airport
JetBlue Airbus A321 Aircraft, Boston Logan International Airport (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

easyJet and JetBlue have both been unsuccessful in applying for slots at London Heathrow for the summer 2021 season.

easyJet and JetBlue had applied for 98 and 42 weekly slots respectively from the pool at Heathrow and none were awarded.

They were far from alone. Each season a large number of airlines apply to Airport Coordination Ltd for slots from a pool of available slots. Almost all get nothing. Slots from the pool are very hard to come by as they only become available when forfeited or handed back by an airline, which most go to great lengths to avoid.

Other airlines that were unsuccessful in applying for slots include Air Baltic, Alitalia Cityliner, Blue Air, Brussels Airlines, Eastern Airways, Loganair, WestJet and Widereo. Unsurprisingly, Norwegian did not apply for any slots at London Heathrow this summer. Only Shenzhen Airlines managed to secure a mere 4 weekly slots.

That does not mean that any of these airlines won’t serve Heathrow this summer. Blue Air will fly from London Heathrow to Bucharest from 1 December 2020 and Cluj-Napoca from 1 March 2021.

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Qatar Airways & Japan Airlines Move To LHR Terminal 5

Qatar Airways and Japan Airlines will relocate to London Heathrow Terminal 5 from Monday 27 and Wednesday 29 July.

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London Heathrow Terminal 5 Check-In Concourse
London Heathrow Terminal 5 Check-In Concourse (Image Credit: British Airways)

Qatar Airways and Japan Airlines are to temporarily relocate to London Heathrow Terminal 5.

Both airlines had temporarily relocated to Terminal 2 due to the closure of Terminals 3 and 4.

They will now move to Terminal 5 from Monday 27 and Wednesday 29 July 2020 respectively where they will join fellow Oneworld alliance members American Airlines, BA and Iberia.

Note that at the time of publication, this is not reflected in all online timetables.

It may seem odd these airlines are moving terminals twice due to COVID-19, this is most likely due to systems issues at Terminal 5 which were originally designed for BA.

Although not confirmed, timetables indicate that Finnair will relocate to Terminal 5 from Saturday 15 August.

In terms of other Oneworld alliance members, Cathay Pacific, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, Royal Air Maroc and SriLankan Airlines remain at Terminal 2, to the extent they are operating international flights from London Heathrow.

Currently, Heathrow airport does not expect Terminal 3 to reopen until late 2020 at the earliest. This will depend on how demand recovers in the autumn. Terminal 4 is not expected to reopen until 2021 at the earliest.

Which Airlines Want To Fly From London Heathrow?

Airport Coordination Ltd has revealed which airlines have applied to operate at Heathrow for the Winter 2020 season.

London Air Travel » Airports » London Heathrow

London Heathrow Terminal 5A, May 2020
London Heathrow Terminal 5 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Heathrow has entered a very different period in its history.

It’s always been known as an airport that is very difficult for airlines to gain access to.

Slots rarely become available. When they do this is usually so for competition remedy purposes, such as the merger of BA and bmi, or BA’s transatlantic joint-business with American Airlines.

One option is to buy them from another airline. As Oman Air did in 2016 when it bought a single slot pair from Kenya Airways for $75m. Selling Heathrow slots is something struggling airlines often do to raise cash, not that it ever solves their underlying problems.

Another way is to simply ask for them. A small number of slots are available and slots can be released into a pool on the rare occasion airlines choose to hand them back.

Most get absolutely nothing. And if they do, as all airport slots are not the same, they may not be taken up.

In Airport Coordination Ltd’s interim report for the winter season, the following airlines all asked for slots and did not receive anything:

Alitalia Cityliner (98)
Arkia Israeli Airlines (6)
Aurigny Air Services (56)
Brussels Airlines (40)
China Airlines (10)
CZA Czech Airlines (14)
DHL Air (12)
Eastern Airways (38)
Luxair (26)
Regional Jet OU (22)
Rwandair (6)
Spicejet (42)
Ukraine International (28)
Vistara (14)
WestJet (56)
Widerøe (56)

Just three airlines gained a very small number of additional slots: China Southern, Shenzhen Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

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Heathrow Trials Passenger Temperature Screening

Heathrow Airport has deployed technology to screen the temperature of passengers as they move through the airport.

London Air Travel » Airports » London Heathrow

Heathrow Airport Temperature Check Trial
Heathrow Airport Temperature Check Trial (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Heathrow has deployed thermal technology to screen passengers’ temperatures as they move through the airport.

The airport has installed cameras in the immigration hall of Terminal 2 to screen passengers’ temperatures as they move through the terminal.

This is part of a trial intended to identity arriving passengers at risk of transmitting COVID-19. It will last for one month from today, Thursday 21 May 2020.

At the moment, the technology is only being used in the immigration hall. If successful, it will be extended to departures and flight connections.

Terminal 2 currently houses all airlines at Heathrow, apart from BA and Iberia which operate from Terminal 5.

Heathrow has provided a list of Frequently Asked Questions on temperature screening as part of its guidance on COVID-19.

Passengers do not need to do anything differently. They will not be stopped by any members of staff. Whilst Heathrow insists that no personally identifiable data will be gathered, passengers also have the option of taking a different route to avoid the cameras if they wish.

Heathrow Airport Temperature Check Trial
Heathrow Airport Temperature Check Trial (Image Credit: Heathrow)
Heathrow Airport Temperature Check Trial
Heathrow Airport Temperature Check Trial (Image Credit: Heathrow)
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Heathrow Airport Closes Terminals Three & Four

Airlines operating from Terminals 3 & 4, except American Airlines, have transferred flights to Terminal 2 by Sunday 3 May.

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Heathrow Terminal 2
Heathrow Terminal 2 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Heathrow has consolidated all passenger flights at Terminals 2 and 5 from Sunday 3 May 2020.

Over the past few weeks airlines have been progressively transferring flights from Terminals 3 and 4 to Terminal 2. American Airlines has since moved to Terminal 5. Qatar Airways and Japan Airlines will move to Terminal 5 from 27 & 29 July.

Terminal 3 has closed. Terminal 4 closed to passenger flights on Sunday 3 May.

The last airlines to transfer flights from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2 did so on Sunday 3 May. These are Air France, Air Malta, Alitalia, El Al, Etihad Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM, Kuwait Airways, Korean Air and Malaysia Airlines.

This means that all airlines other than American Airlines, BA and Iberia now operate from Terminal 2.

Rail services to Terminal 4 are suspended from Sunday 8 May.

No date has been given for the reopening of Terminals 3 and 4. Heathrow airport says Terminal 3 may reopen later in 2020 depending on how demand recovers in the autumn. Some airlines such as Virgin Atlantic will be keen to move back to Terminal 3 due to the infrastructure they have in place there.

It’s plausible that this may prompt a reorganisation of airlines at Heathrow. Some airlines may leave Heathrow permanently. Heathrow airport say Terminal 4 will not reopen until 2021 at the earliest. It is not an easy terminal to operate from due to its location, and could be mothballed for some time, if not permanently closed.

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Heathrow Airport To Close Terminals Three & Four

Heathrow Airport is to temporarily consolidate all remaining flights in Terminals 2 and 5.

London Air Travel » Airports » London Heathrow

London Heathrow Terminal 5
London Heathrow Terminal 5 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Heathrow airport has confirmed that Terminals 3 and 4 will close temporarily in “the coming weeks”.

Airlines operating from these terminals will transfer their flights to Terminals 2 and 5.

This follows a fall in passenger flights of 75%. No date has been given for the change. Nor has it been confirmed which airlines which move into which terminals.

The logical move is for Oneworld alliance member airlines such as American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qantas to move to Terminal 5.

SkyTeam member airlines such as Air France, Delta and KLM and non-aligned airlines such as Virgin Atlantic could move to Terminal 2.

There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes before these moves can be agreed.

For example, Terminal 5 was originally designed around BA’s own systems and processes. When Iberia moved into the terminal many years ago, it took a long time for Iberia flights could operate from the terminal under their own flight numbers.

There are also industrial relations issues with airlines having their own employees and handling agents at Heathrow.

Given the upheaval required behind the scenes to facilitate these moves, this does suggest that flights at Heathrow will be reduced substantially for some time.

The latest guidance on Coronavirus from Heathrow can be viewed here.

Heathrow will also move to a single runway operation from Monday 6 April 2020. Flights will alternative between the Northern and Southern runway each week as per this schedule.

Update Saturday 2 May 2020

The transfer of airline operations is taking place in phases. Here are confirmed transfers to date:

Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Pakistan International Airlines has transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Thursday 16 April 2020.

Japan Airlines has transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Saturday 18 April 2020.

Iran Air has transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Sunday 19 April 2020.

Beijing Capital Airlines, Finnair, Qantas and Qatar Airways have transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Monday 20 April.

American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic have transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Tuesday 21 April.

Philippine Airlines has transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Friday 24 April.

Gulf Air has transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Saturday 25 April.

China Southern Airlines has transferred flights to Terminal 2 from Wednesday 29 April.

Saudia and Middle East Airlines (MEA) have transferred flight to Terminal 2 from Thursday 30 April.

SriLankan Airlines and Bulgaria Air moved to Terminal 2 from Friday 1 May.

KLM, Alitalia, Kenya Airways, Kuwait Airways, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Air Malta, El Al, and Malaysia Airlines will all relocate from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2 from Sunday 3 May.

Note these changes are being announced at very short notice and may also be subject to further change at short notice.

Heathrow Airport Strike – Tuesday 6 August Suspended

Planned industrial action by staff employed by Heathrow airport on Tuesday 6 August has been suspended.

London Air Travel » Airports » London Heathrow

London Heathrow Terminal 5A
London Heathrow Terminal 5A (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Planned industrial action by staff at Heathrow Airport represented by the Unite trade union on Tuesday 6 August 2019 has been suspended.

This follows talks between Heathrow and Unite today and over the weekend at the conciliation service ACAS.

The airport will now operate normally and published restrictions on hand baggage for departing and connecting customers will be lifted.

At the time of publication, planned industrial action for Friday 23 August and Saturday 24 August 2019, which involves additional workgroups in dispute with Heathrow, is still scheduled to go ahead.

Individual airlines have made their own contingency plans to mitigate the impact of industrial action.

If you have proactively rebooked onto an alternative flight to avoid travelling through Heathrow on the days of the planned strike action, you should not need to change your booking again. If you do wish to do so, this will be at the discretion of your airline.

Some airlines have proactively re-routed flights at the request of the airport in anticipation of disruption and it will be for individual airlines to decide whether to reinstate flights at short notice.

Virgin Atlantic has confirmed it is not switching flights transferred to Gatwick back to Heathrow.

Heathrow Airport Strike Monday 5 August 2019 Suspended

Planned industrial action by staff employed by Heathrow airport on Monday 5 August has been suspended. A strike may still go ahead on Tuesday 6 August.

London Air Travel » Airports » London Heathrow

London Heathrow Terminal 5A
London Heathrow Terminal 5A (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Planned industrial action by staff at Heathrow Airport represented by the Unite trade union on Monday 5 August 2019 has been suspended.

This follows talks between Heathrow and Unite over the weekend at the conciliation service ACAS. The strike has been suspended to allow for further talks.

The airport will now operate normally and restrictions on hand baggage for departing and connecting customers will be lifted.

At the time of publication, planned industrial action for Tuesday 6 August, Friday 23 August and Saturday 24 August 2019 is still scheduled to go ahead.

Individual airlines have made their own contingency plans to mitigate the impact of industrial action.

If you have proactively rebooked onto an alternative flight to avoid travelling through Heathrow on the days of the planned strike action, you should not need to change your booking again. If you do wish to do so, this will be at the discretion of your airline.

Some airlines have proactively cancelled and re-routed flights at the request of the airport in anticipation of disruption and it will be for individual airlines to decide whether to reinstate flights at short notice. Given the further confusion it could cause, this is unlikely to happen.

British Airways has reversed all previous cancellations and Heathrow terminal changes for Monday 5 August. Virgin Atlantic is not switching flights transferred to Gatwick back to Heathrow.