ITV to go behind the scenes at London Heathrow

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

The behind the scenes documentary shows no signs of running out of steam. We’ve lost count of the number of train companies, hotels and airlines that have opened themselves up to the cameras! ITV has now commissioned a three part documentary series on London Heathrow.

The documentary is being made by independent production company Raw TV. Production has been underway for some time, with the company actively seeking both frequent and nervous flyers late last year.

Of course, this is not the first time Heathrow has opened itself up to the cameras. The BBC ran “Airport Live” in 2013, as well as the long-running docusoap “Airport”.

We’ll provide an update with an expected transmission date as soon as we hear of it.

Update: Episode 1 of “Britain’s Busiest Airport” premiers on ITV at 9pm on Thursday 4 June 2015.  More from the ITV Press Centre.

Heathrow proposes reduced charges for domestic flights

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BA Airbus A319 aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
BA Airbus A319 aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

There was something of a surprise announcement that caught the media’s attention before the Easter break.

Heathrow airport announced that it proposes to reduce its charges to airlines for UK domestic flights by a third from £29.59 to £19.59 per passenger, with effect from 1 January 2017.

This follows the announcement ny Heathrow Airport last month of a route development fund to support up to nine new UK domestic routes.

The rationale for this is that the number of UK domestic destinations from London Heathrow has fallen substantially over the past 25 years and does not compare favourably to rival hubs such as Amsterdam. So Heathrow wishes to encourage many more UK domestic routes.

Will we see more UK domestic destinations from Heathrow?

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A tale of two routes: Heathrow to Austin, Texas & Chengdu, China

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British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (Image Credit: Heathrow)

The owners of Heathrow and Gatwick are currently campaigning for their respective airports to gain an additional runway (a third runway in the case of Heathrow and a second runway in the case of Gatwick) as part of The Airports Commission’s appraisal of the options for additional runway capacity in the South East of England.

The nub of Gatwick’s campaign under the banner “Gatwick Obviously” is that, as well as being able to secure a new runway at much less cost, additional capacity at Gatwick is essential to provide effective competition between Gatwick and Heathrow.

Key to Heathrow’s campaign for a third runway is that additional capacity is essential to secure links between the UK and international growth markets in Asia and elsewhere.

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An update on London Heathrow terminal moves

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Aer Lingus London Heathrow
Aer Lingus London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Here’s a quick update on recent terminal moves at London Heathrow:

1. Heathrow has a new resident in the form of Avianca. The airline is now flying from London Heathrow to Bogota in Columbia four times a week.

Flight AV121 departs from London Heathrow every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 22:35.

Flight AV120 arrives at London Heathrow from Bogota every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 14:40 (16:05 on Saturdays).

2. Aer Lingus has now moved all of its flights to Ireland from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2.

3. US Airways has moved its daily flights to Charlotte and Philadelphia from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 to co-locate with its merger partner American Airlines and fellow Oneworld alliance members.

4. British Airways has moved check-in zones at Terminal 3. BA now uses Zone D, instead of Zone G. This is a temporary measure until February 2015.

Thai Airways & Turkish Airlines delay move to Terminal 2

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London Heathrow Terminal 2A Forecourt
London Heathrow Terminal 2A Forecourt (Image Credit: London Heathrow)

Things had appeared to be going well with the opening of Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 with United Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, and ANA now ensconced in the terminal and no sign of a repeat of the disastrous opening of Terminal 5 in 2008.

However, gremlins seem to have emerged.

There was a baggage system failure affecting passengers at Terminal 2 last week. For reasons we don’t entirely understand Terminal 2 is using Terminal 1’s baggage system.

And we don’t know if this is connected, but there have been very well publicised intermittent problems with the baggage system at Terminal 5 caused by software issues over the past few days.

To allow further testing of the baggage system, Thai Airways Turkish Airlines’ moves from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 tomorrow (2 July 2014) has been postponed until Thursday 28 August 2014.
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Heathrow Terminal 2 opens on 4 June 2014 with United

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London Heathrow Terminal 2A Forecourt
London Heathrow Terminal 2A Forecourt (Image Credit: London Heathrow)

Heathrow Terminal 2 “The Queen’s Terminal” opens to the public next week, on 4 June 2014.

The new terminal, the first to open since Terminal 5 in 2008, has been designed by Luis Vidal + Architects.

It will house all Star Alliance member airlines at London Heathrow who are currently split across Terminals 1, 3 and 4. These include United Airlines, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, SAS, Swiss and Air New Zealand.

The terminal will also house non-alliance members Germanwings (a subsidiary of Lufthansa) and Aer Lingus, as well as Virgin Atlantic’s domestic “Little Red” flights to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

United Airlines is the first airline to move into the terminal, consolidating its operations in Terminals 1 (Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco & Washington) and 4 (New York Newark, Houston).

The first flight to arrive at the terminal will be United Airlines flight UA858 from Chicago at 05:55.

The first flight to depart from the terminal will be United Airlines flight UA123 to Washington at 07:30, followed by United Airlines flight UA929 to Chicago – two of seventeen flights due to leave that day.

United Airlines will also have two departure lounges for eligible passengers: A United Club and United Global First Lounge. The lounges will feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the airfield and will offer complimentary food & drink and Wi-Fi in addition to business facilities and shower suites.

We also understand that Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines will have their own lounges for eligible passengers.

One point of interest is that there will be a paid for access Plaza Premium Lounge for passengers who do not have lounge access by virtue of their ticket type or frequent flyer status. The lack of such a lounge in Terminal 5 is a regular comment we hear.

Like Terminal 5, public art features prominently in the terminal.   The consultancy FutureCity has commissioned sculptor Richard Wilson MBA to produce a 70m long sculpture “Slipstream” which was officially unveiled on 23 April.

Of course, this being Heathrow, significant attention has been given to the retail offer in the terminal. The full list of retailers has been published. As well as the standard UK airport fare, two noteworthy tenants are John Lewis and the “Perfectionist’s Cafe” by Heston Blumenthal.

Lessons have been learned from the opening of Terminal 5 in the move of airlines will take place in phases over six months. Air Canada, ANA and Air China will follow United Airlines on 16 June 2014.

As a consequence of the move, Terminal 1 is expected to close in 2016. British Airways will consolidate its operations that are currently across Terminals 1, 3 and 5, into Terminals 3 and 5 in 2015.

Heathrow airport has provided a brochure to promote the new terminal and more information is also available on the Heathrow airport website.

Heathrow Express – Discounts, offer codes and promotions

One of the many frequent complaints about Heathrow airport is the cost of travelling to the airport by train from London Paddington.

Whilst there is the option of taking The Tube, the journey on the Piccadilly Line (best described as one long baggage carousel) is long, prone to delays and over-crowding. The carriages are ill-suited to carrying large amounts of luggage and the overland parts of the journey are anything but scenic.

That only leaves (until Crossrail opens in 2018 at least) the Heathrow Express from London Paddington to Heathrow Central (for Terminals 1 and 3 and interchange to Terminal 4) and Heathrow Terminal 5. However, at a cost of £20 for a single ticket or £34 for a return ticket for a 15-20 minute journey (and more if you buy on board!), it must rank as one of the most expensive train journeys per minute in the world!

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Richard Wilson’s “Slipstream” is unveiled at Heathrow Terminal 2

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Richard Wilson’s new artwork ‘Slipstream’ was unveiled at Terminal 2 of Heathrow airport on today.

The aluminum sculpture is suspended 18 metres above the ground, weighs 77 tonnes and is 78 metres in length. It is inspired by the flight path of a stunt plane. The sculpture was commissioned by the consultancy FutureCity.

Terminal 2 opens on Wednesday 4 June 2014 and will be officially opened by The Queen on Monday 23 June.

Embed from Getty Images

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Heathrow Terminal 2 opens in three months’ time on 4 June 2014

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London Heathrow Terminal 2A Forecourt
London Heathrow Terminal 2A Forecourt (Image Credit: London Heathrow)

If you’ve flown through London Heathrow recently you couldn’t have failed to notice the progress in the building of Terminal 2, “The Queen’s Terminal”, which opens in three months from today, on 4 June 2014.

The new terminal, the first to open since Terminal 5 in 2008, has been designed by Luis Vidal + Architects.

It will house all Star Alliance member airlines at London Heathrow who are currently split across Terminals 1, 3 and 4. These include United Airlines, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, SAS, Swiss and Air New Zealand.

The terminal will also house non-alliance members Germanwings (a subsidiary of Lufthansa) and Aer Lingus, as well as Virgin Atlantic’s domestic “Little Red” flights to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

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A quick reminder that “Airport Live” starts on BBC2 tonight at 8pm

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Airport Live presenters, Dallas Campbell, Anita Rani, Dan Snow - (C) BBC - Photographer: Des Willie
Airport Live presenters, Dallas Campbell, Anita Rani, Dan Snow – (C) BBC – Photographer: Des Willie

As mentioned previously, the BBC is to go behind the scenes at London Heathrow airport from today with “Airport Live” which is on BBC2 from 8pm.

Over four consecutive nights, the BBC will be live from the control tower and airport terminals of London Heathrow. There are already a number of preview clips on programme website.

The track record of prime time television programmes on air travel is not good, with a particular tendency to learn towards sensationalism about air safety. However, “Airport Live” is produced in conjunction with The Open University to fulfil the University’s own course requirements, so it should be relatively informative and worth “setting the video” for.

All four programmes will also be available on demand the BBC iPlayer. However, for viewers outside the UK, I’m afraid I don’t think there won’t be any official means of watching “Airport Live”.