British Airways’ home at London Heathrow, Terminal 5, opened on March 27, 2008.
Terminal 5 puts the customer in control of their travel, from the technology employed both before and during the flight experience to the flowing, flexible layout of the building.
Customers can move swiftly through the departures area giving them the luxury to do as they like once they are ‘airside’, be that relaxing, eating, shopping or working, all within a state-of-the-art environment.
The overall customer experience:
Terminal 5 was created with the basic premise of making air travel easy through one of the world’s busiest airport hubs – London Heathrow.
Customers flow through the airport in a logical, linear manner. The majority of customers have checked in before arriving at the airport or they can use one of the 96 check-in kiosks within the departures hall.
Travellers carrying hold luggage are able to drop their bags at one of the more than 100 desks before moving straight on through security.
The Flight Connections Centre for transfer customers is located within the heart of the building and helps many more customers connect through a single terminal meaning less distance to travel and a faster arrival at their next flight.
First, Club World, Club Europe, Gold and Silver Executive Club members can also take advantage of the six British Airways’ lounges that are available for them in Terminal 5, giving them the opportunity to work or relax as they choose.
By the end of 2014 more than 175 million customers had used the facilities and the terminal had handled just under 1.2 million flights.
The terminal will typically look after between 550 and 600 weekday flights and around 90,000 customers on a normal day.
At the peak of the busy school summer holidays, more than 100,000 customers use the facilities each day.
Terminal 5 serves more than 115 destinations.
Terminal 5, which opened on March 27, 2008, was designed by Rogers, Stirk, Harbour & Partners. It was built at a cost of £4.3 billion. It is exclusively used by International Airlines Group members British Airways and Iberia and has the capacity to handle more than 30 million customers a year.
British Airways invested £330 million in designing and equipping its parts of the terminal. This figure included £60 million spent on the lounge complex as well as significant investment in IT systems, ground vehicles and equipment, storage and maintenance facilities plus staff training and familiarisation.
The building is so vast it is possible to fit 50 football pitches over Terminal 5’s five floors, but moving around couldn’t be simpler thanks to improved flow through the building, clear signage and the location of departure gates.
Terminal 5 consists of a main terminal building (T5A) and two satellite buildings (T5B and T5C) linked by an underground track transit system. T5A and T5B opened in March 2008, while T5C opened in May 2010.
The building itself is light, airy and modern - more than 30,000 square metres of glass was used to glaze the 40m high and the 396m long main terminal building.
The aircraft stands are located around the buildings. Due to the use of an underground track transit system this means that aircraft are unimpaired by cul-de-sacs or other planes when they need to pull away from the jetty. This will speed up the arrival and departure of flights, thereby improving punctuality.
80 per cent of customers use BA’s self-service channels to check-in - many of them arrive at Terminal 5 ready to fly having checked-in via ba.com
The building is designed to ensure that customers keep moving in one direction, starting at one of the 96 check-in kiosks before moving on to the fast bag drop desks followed by the northern and southern security search points.
The intelligent, flexible design of the building also means that British Airways can use the desks to react to changing customer needs and ensure the continuing forward flow of passengers.
Customers are encouraged, where possible, to take public transport to Terminal 5.
A plaza hosts the main transport links. It is a unique design feature and space (30m wide and the length of the building) and is landscaped with 40 mature trees, fountains, seating areas, artworks and an outdoor café area when the weather permits.
Underneath the north end of the plaza a railway station houses six platforms; two for the Heathrow Express, two for London Underground’s Piccadilly Line and two which are built and safeguarded in advance of a scheme to link Heathrow by rail to the West. Natural light floods the platforms thanks to a transparent roof made from the same material as the Eden Project biomes in Cornwall.
For those who do need to arrive by car, a new spur road has been built directly from the M25. This makes access to the terminal much easier and avoids the need for cars to circumnavigate the perimeter roads, which could cause more congestion and pollution.
The plaza separates the multi-storey car park and drop off forecourts from the main terminal. They are connected to the departures hall of the terminal building by four glazed ‘sky bridges’.
The car park has some 4,000 spaces and Heathrow has invested in a range of technologies to make it stress free, including a car finder service to help customers locate their car and bay monitoring to ensure they find a space quickly.
The bus and coach station is located on the ground floor level of the multi-storey car park.
A 600-room luxury hotel, The Sofitel London Heathrow, is also part of the T5 campus. The £180 million hotel opened in July 2008 and has a short covered link bridge joining it direct to the main terminal building.
Terminal 5 has been designed in such a way as to ensure that it is simple for customers to make their way through the building.
On arrival at Terminal 5, customers will move immediately to the bank of kiosks, then onto the fast bag drop desks, before making their way through security. Customers will then pass through the retail area towards the aircraft gates.
Heathrow has fitted large ‘beacons’ as orientation landmarks, making it clear for customers where they need to be.
There are plenty of screens and information around Terminal 5 denoting the location of and amount of time it takes to get to each gate. British Airways staff are also on hand to help with queries.
Up to 90 per cent of British Airways transfers will take place through Terminal 5. Unlike the rest of the yellow signage normally associated with airports, the transfer channels will be highlighted with purple signs making it easy for customers to connect from one flight to another.
An underground track transit system has been installed throughout Terminal 5 to transfer customers between the buildings.
The system will move 6,500 passengers per hour at a speed of 30 miles per hour. The journey time is just 45 seconds to T5B and just under 90 seconds to T5C.
Terminal 5 has allowed British Airways to radically overhaul the airline’s airport lounges.
There are six lounges within the new British Airways terminal collectively known as ‘Galleries’.
The lounges cost £60 million to build and are capable of hosting up to 2,500 people. This is a 25 per cent increase in capacity in comparison to the airline’s former lounge complex in Terminal 1 and Terminal 4.
There is also a 100 per cent increase in the number of showers and bathrooms, a 60 per cent increase in washrooms and 25 per cent more customer service desks, all to make life easier for customers.
Key lounges include:
• The Concorde Room for First customers
• The Galleries First Lounge for First customers and Gold Executive Club members.
• Three Galleries Club Lounges for Club World and Club Europe customers, Gold and Silver Executive Club members
• Elemis Travel Spas in the Club Galleries and Arrivals lounges
• Galleries Arrivals Lounge for First, Club World and Gold Executive Club members travelling on long-haul flights.
The lounges embrace a decadent look and feel with crystal chandeliers, fabrics by Osborne and Little, art installations and mood lighting to reflect the time of day. Crafted screens divide the lounges into sections. Beautiful wine bars are available for customers and restaurants will serve fresh food prepared in view of the traveller.
Work and entertainment zones allow customers to log into the internet, check their emails and view entertainment.
The Concorde Room boasts a Concorde bar and restaurant. The Galleries First Lounge hosts a champagne bar and a ‘Gold’ bar and the Galleries Club Lounges feature ‘Silver’ bars. The bars will host regular wine tastings for the connoisseurs travelling.
For those wanting to relax and indulge themselves, the Elemis Travel Spa offers a range of treatments. They include customised facials, shoulder, scalp and back massages, and feet and hand re-energisers.
The large Galleries Club Lounge includes a cinema where major televised events are shown.
Once the customer has checked in at the kiosks or online, they can deposit their luggage at one of more than 90 desks.
The bags are loaded into lifts and lowered down into the highly sophisticated baggage system that delivers them to their specific flight.
The baggage system was the first part of the building to be developed ensuring that it is comfortably housed within Terminal 5. It is one of the most advanced of any major global airport and involves more than 18km of belts and tracks to move the bags around the terminal. At its peak it processes 12,000 bags per hour.
Customers wishing to catch up on any retail therapy or fine dining can do so at Terminal 5. The retail facilities are unlike anything experienced before at an airport terminal.
Designed into the fabric of the building, the 200,000sq ft retail area has been carefully designed to ensure it is proportionate to the scale of Terminal 5, enhances the experience and works with the grain of the building. There more than 112 stores and restaurants across Terminal 5’s three buildings offering a great choice of goods and food.
Gordon Ramsey, Harrods, Paul Smith, Tiffany, Mulberry, Hughes and Hughes, Mappin & Webb, Links, Smythson, Caviar House & Prunier and Cafe Amato, Starbucks, Caffe Nero, Eat, and Apostrophe are a few of the names that are available in Terminal 5.
Close attention was paid to minimising the impact on the environment during the construction of Terminal 5.
85 per cent of waste on the project was recovered and materials have been recycled and re-used throughout the building process.
A super-strength concrete was used for the construction of the airfield, which meant less was required. This alone saved 60,000 tonnes of CO2.
Waste heat from an existing combined heat and power plant is being piped to the Terminal 5 energy centre to provide the building with 85 per cent of its heat on demand. This saves around 11,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Inside the terminal, the lighting is controlled digitally. Individual lights can be turned on, off or dimmed. The baggage systems and escalators benefit from variable speed drives, slowing down the systems when not in use.
The terminal itself is glazed on all facades, reducing the need for artificial lighting. South-facing facades benefit from louvres, angled in such a way as to prevent the summer sun penetrating the building.
Energy efficient fittings are found throughout the terminal building and only centrally chilled water is used to cool the building, limiting the need for individually chilled air conditioning units and refrigerators throughout the building.
Water from Terminal 5’s rainwater harvesting and groundwater boreholes is being used reducing the demand on the public water supply by 70 per cent. The harvesting scheme re-uses up to 85 per cent of the rainfall that falls on the terminal’s campus.
When aircraft arrive on to a stand they can be attached to a system which pumps air into the cabin. When used with fixed electrical ground power units the aircraft engines and auxiliary power units can be completely shut down cutting out unnecessary emissions.