On 14 March 2008, Her Majesty The Queen officially opened London Heathrow Terminal 5. You can take read the story of its opening here. In the past ten years, London Heathrow has undergone enormous changes so let’s take a look back.
1. Heathrow has got better
Immediately before Terminal 5, BA had the ignominy of being one of the worst airlines in Europe for bagging handling.
Breakdowns in the baggage systems were a frequent occurrence. As was overcrowding in the terminals. Tents made a regular appearance outside Terminal 4 as soon as there was any disruption. Punctuality was similarly bad.
BAA, as it was then known, as owner of Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted was perceived as a byword for a rent-seeking monopoly.
Gatwick and Stansted are now separately owned from Heathrow. After the opening of Terminal 5, Terminal 1 and the old Terminal 2 have closed and been demolished. A new Terminal 2, The Queen’s Terminal, opened in 2014. Terminal 4, which operationally was always on the verge of collapsing in on itself in the last years of BA’s operation, has been refurbished.
Airlines have also regrouped largely around alliance membership with Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam members in Terminals 2, 3 and 4 respectively.
Whilst Heathrow has had some bad moments, notably the weather disruption of December 2010 which exposed very poor working relations between the airport and its airlines, lessons from this and the opening of Terminal 5 have been learned and contingency planning has improved.
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