Airport Hotel Service

London Heathrow Airport Information

London's Heathrow Airport started out as a 150-acre private airport to test aircraft. Today it's the world's busiest airport. The airport, which takes its name from an old farming village called Heath Row, was taken over by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in World War II. It became a civilian airport on January 1, 1946, with former military tents now seeing duty as terminal buildings.

London Airport handled 63,000 passengers in its first year of operation. Today, more than 67 million passengers use the airport annually, usually between 100,000 and 200,000 passengers a day. The total passenger count in 2011 was more than the entire population of England. Heathrow is served by 90 airlines flying to 90 countries. The airport was officially named Heathrow in 1966, two years after the Beatles were mobbed there.

Work began on permanent buildings in 1951. Today, LHR, as the airport is known in airport code, has five terminals, though it is only using four at the moment as Terminal 2 was demolished in preparation for a one-billion-pound replacement. The tallest air traffic control tower in the United Kingdom opened here in 2007.

Sitting on more than 3,000 acres, Heathrow has two runways. The northern runway is more than two miles long at 12,801 feet, while the southern runway is just slightly over 12,000 feet long. Both runways are approximately 147 feet wide. In the 1950s, it had six runways, with some of these incorporated into the present taxiways.

Heathrow uses full body scanners at security on select passengers; passengers who object to this screening procedure are not allowed to fly.

Passengers who drive their own cars to Heathrow can park in more than 21,000 short- and long-term spaces. Passengers who drive electric cars will be able to charge them at special spaces in the short-term parking facilities at each terminal. The airport provides special parking spaces for families. Shuttle service is provided between terminals.

The airport even keeps track of what passengers do while waiting for flights. For example, they buy more than 1,000 bottles of champagne a day and more than 100,000 bottles of fragrances every week. Passengers eat more than one million eggs annually in airport restaurants, and coffee is a more popular beverage than the traditional English tea: 35,000 cups to 26,000 cups every day.

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