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24 September 2014

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You are in: London > Travel > Features > Heathrow > Heathrow Terminal 5

Terminal 5

Heathrow Terminal 5

Discover more about the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport and get a sneak preview with our photo galleries.

After five and a half years of construction work Heathrow's new Terminal 5 is getting ready to open on 27 March 2008.

BBC London has been given special access to bring you news, photos and panoramic tours of the new multi-billion pound terminal.

Work on the terminal began in 2002 after a record-breaking four-year public inquiry prompted by local residents and green groups.

The terminal will serve an extra 30 million passengers and the first flight to be served by it will be a BA service from Hong Kong.

The passengers arriving from the Far East will be the first of about 40,000 to go through the terminal on its first day of operation.

Terminal 5 Facts

  • Terminal 5 is expected to cost £4.2 billion
  • It will open on 27 March 2008
  • T5 is designed to handle 35 million passengers a year at capacity
  • Terminal 5 has 11 miles of baggage conveyor belt
  • During construction, two rivers were diverted around the Terminal 5 site


It will have platforms to serve both the Heathrow Express and London Underground's Piccadilly line.

Shops, cafes and restaurants at the terminal will include Harrods and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay will open his first airport-based restaurant there.

Terminal 5 consists of three buildings – the main terminal plus two satellites, Terminals 5B and 5C, linked by an automated transit system.

The design, featuring glass walls and roof, was devised by the Richard Rogers Partnership (now Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners), creators of the Welsh Assembly building and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.


Would you like to be a volunteer to help test the new facilities at Terminal 5? All volunteers receive a Terminal 5 gift bag, and entry into a monthly prize draw for a chance to win British Airways flights. For more information:

Your Views

Do you think Terminal 5 is going to be good for passengers or will it be an environmental disaster?

E-mail us at:

Your Emails

Terminal 5 looks as though it should be a winner.  Make sure terminals 1-4 are upgraded to the same standards or they will look tacky by comparison.

Michael Waller

Recently, the regulations have changed and planes are allowed to land after 5am which means that most nights you can hear planes already circling London at 4.10 am, which is becoming a total nuisance as you can't go back to sleep.  I think regulations should be changed back to 6 am.  Sometimes you can hear helicopters even after 2am and it's just not enough time to have a proper night rest.   I live in Central London on the path to Heathrow and I suffer, I really feel for those Londoners who leave even closer.

Maria Rodríguez-Pérez

I (like most of my neighbours in W4 and surrounding areas) am entirely opposed to the proposed third runway at Heathrow and to any additional terminals or development. Given the airport’s location and the existing and predicted usage levels this proposal is completely unwarranted and unacceptable. A third runway would ruin the lives of millions of Londoners and it must be stopped. A pan European study has shown that air traffic leads to higher blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack.

Roy Thomas

Expansion at Heathrow is not designed to benefit the local community. It is a scheme to increase profits for BAA and its shareholders. The local community is brushed aside as though it doesn't matter.

Peter Rogers

I am strongly opposed to any expansion of Heathrow Airport, either through the introduction of mixed mode use of runways or the building of a third runway for the following reasons:

Aviation is already the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, with Heathrow already being one of the biggest sources of climate damage.  In 2006 the Tyndall Centre warned that if aviation continues to grow it will severly undermine our chances of meeting the government's 60% target for emissions reductions by 2050 and that a deeper cut in emissions would be almost impossible.  The third runway alone would produce an extra 3 million tonnes per annum of CO2.

The expansion of Heathrow is unnecessary. Almost a quarter of flights from the airport are to destinations with good rail links like Paris and Manchester.  Replacing air with rail would also have significant environmental benefits, as travelling by train does ten times less damage to the climate than flying.

The economic arguments for airport expansion do not take into account the £9bn subsidy the aviation industry receives from not paying VAT and the £18bn tourism deficit where UK travellers overseas spend more than visitors to this country.  Furthermore, the 35% of passengers at Heathrow who are simply changing planes are not benefiting the UK economy at all.

As a local resident I oppose any mixed mode use of runways.  Currently residents at least get a half day's respite from screaming overhead engines. Subjecting residents to plane noise from 6 in the morning until after 11 at night with no let up is just not fair - there would be absolutely no opportunity for daytime rest for shift workers, children, old people or anyone suffering from illness.  Being subjected to that constant level of noise would stressful and extremely unpleasant.

Having attended a Department of Transport 'consultation' exhibition, I was dismayed to see how much of the information is supplied in such a way as to confuse or mislead the public.  I refer in particular to the listening booths which are supposed to demonstrate the difference in noise level between older and newer planes.  The readings were allegedly taken from a spot in West Hounslow, but bore no relation whatsoever to the noise of a plane taking off as experienced in my garden some 3 miles further away! When  challenged the DoT noise representative tried to argue that it was not important how loud they were and that it was only the contrast that was relevant.  In my opinion this was highly misleading and gave a watered-down cosy version of the racket of overhead engine noise suffered by hundreds of thousands of local people.

In addition to this, the response form supplied by the Department of Transport is packed with crafty, leading questions such as being asked to rate in how far we would prefer to have a longer time gap between arriving/departing aircraft (equally spread between the two rundways), even if this meant losing periods of relief.
The longer time gaps refered to would be a matter of maybe 30 seconds!!!

We are also asked to comment on how far we would agree that 'If it were decided to retain an element of runway alternation, we would feel that mixed mode only during the period 0600 to 1200 would be a sensible position.'
Providing us with Hobson's choice does not result in a fair and balanced consultation.

I'm sure the whole nation, and in particular local Heathrow residents, were severely shaken by last week's crash landing at the airport.  With so many aeroplanes already flying over such a densely populated area, I think it would be sheer madness to increase the number of flights by a further 222,000 per year (an increase from the current 480,000 flights to a proposed 702,000 by 2030, to be achieved by not only building a third runway, but also increasing the number of flights on the two existing runways) Mixed mode operations would mean planes taking off and landing on the same runways, on both runways at the same time.  Surely this has got to increase the risk of an accident?!

Twickenham resident

Living in Harlington and only just a few Metres from the perimiter fence, my wife and I are totally opposed to the development.

We have lived here for 42 yrs, raised 2 children and now wish to enjoy the rest of our life together. This development is against all that is reasonable, in respect to sensible development of any kind, it is a massive built up area, complete disregard to peoples needs, the total destruction of historical and religious and schools.

A few days ago there was a near disaster with an aeroplane, Boeing 777, if this plane had come down on the Northern Runway, then even allowing the same situation, that occured, on the Southern Runway, then it would have caused massive destruction, loss of life etc, something BAA or indeed BA have not comented on.

I was part of a committee that reported on the possibilty of another Airport, on the Thames Estaury, costed and the fesability was without question, very sound, even at least 6 Runways.  It would have cost less than this development, NO PROPERTIES LOST, so why was it not taken up I ask. There is very much more I would like to say but I hope this will wet your appetite.

Laurie Watts

as some one who works for baa id love to see how long before t5 fouls up as they have not got the staff, at the moment as a security guard we get sent to help out to other terminals on a daily basis due to sickness levels being high as a way staff  been treated by management. the new starters are to young and some new ones go straight on light duties cause they find it hard searching and being on there feet for long periods, t5 might be fully staffed when it opens but other terminals will be left short of staff.


Heathrow doesn't do London any justice and needs rapid improvements. I feel that Terminal 5 is exactly what Heathrow needs and I look forward for more of the same to come in the future.

David Bowman

Considering how tiny this island of ours is we seem to have a disproportionate number of airports. We cannot keep expanding at whatever cost. 

The 'cost' is planning blight, noise, displacement of people through loss of homes, loss of wildlife habitat; stress, anger and frustration by all those affected as well as concerned environmentalists.

I feel impotent rage with Govt. after Govt.  constantly ignoring the overwhelming wishes of the public and whose Departments are tasked with contradicting goals.  Mr. Blair was challenged about the environment after one of his speeches about cutting emissions, by, I think, a channel 4 reporter, and his comments were captured on film.  He said something like, '..well you know 'Fred' it will always be the economy that takes precedence..'  So all these fine words about caring for the environment were exposed as lies in once sentence.  I wish I had videoed the programme.

It's a bit like the road building mania.  We build roads because the Govt. ignores advice and believes it will ease congestion, I think it's to do with appeasing the road lobby and keeping people in jobs.  I have forgotten the 'principle' but it's something about expanding to fill the ever increasing available space.

By the way I live in Morden, Surrey, and will be affected by more noise from the change in flight paths which the 3rd runway will create.


My wife and I strongly object the third runway being built at Heathrow Airport because of the disruption to the local communities who will have to relocate their homes and the increased noise and atmospheric pollution.

Max and Angela B-U

I am a resident who lives 7 miles from Heathrow.

I am opposed to expansion basically because to increase aircraft movements across west London from the 480,000 movements already planned is an act of barbarism unrivalled in modern planning.  The levels of noise pollution already make it impossible to be outside for 40% of the time, mean gardens can only be looked at never enjoyed and of course the health impacts for Londoners in terms of higher rates of heart attacks, strokes etc is well documented but ignored by government.  The proposed loss of alternation and a half day of peace and quiet is an outrage to which only the callous and inhuman can subscribe.

Pollution in terms of air quality both from the planes and the people traveling to and from the airport is extremely bad and there is no way it can get any better by doubling flight movements and people using the airport.  Ruth Kelly seems to believe giving children higher rates of asthma is a price worth paying for the democratization of flights. (Another myth, as the average income of flyers at Stanstead is £40,000 plus a year).

The government’s economic arguments are at best dishonest, forgetting to point out no VAT is charged on tickets, no duty paid on aviation fuel (a 6-9 billion subsidy) and that the government underwrites the return on investment BAA makes (guarantees 7% ROI).  The business benefits are tiny 40% of people are transit passengers from Europe and never enter the UK only 15% are ‘on business’.

The environmental impacts are well known, this government is simply seeking to hide behind the fact that our targets don’t include aviation emissions an absurd omission that simply makes pointless any attempt to reduce carbon targets.

The BAA authority itself provides misinformation – the webtrack system which purports to provide take-off and landings at LHR is a sham – it does not show the real position and aircraft – in particular BA regularly diverge from the mandated flight paths and flying over schools and open spaces – further degrading the quality of life for residents.

I was a life long supporter of Labour and never an active political participant, this issue and Ruth Kellys dishonest spin have motivated me to campaign against LHR expansion, the local MP and Labour in general, it is not possible for me to support a government content to play fast and loose with the truth and willing to blight the lives of millions in pursuit of profits for BA and Ferrivol. 

This government is planning the ultimate betrayal – short term gain for a fgew shareholders at the cost of our peace of mind and the environment we all inhabit – its an absolute disgrace.

Christian Ball

I live nearby and even if I did not, I cannot understand why Heathrow has to be expanded, it causes enough misery, my family have moved away because of the terrible take-offs and landings, so what are they trying to do to the people below, especially when one third of all passengers do not even enter London. I use Heathrow, twice a year at most, it works fine, so why expand. I do not even mention the thousands and thousands of extra cars pouring into the area once the airport expands, we need this - they will try to lie about the EU pollution figures but we are already one of the most polluted cities on earth and exceed EU guidelines here in Twickenham. We do not believe the government, they said no Terminal 5, now they are saying Terminal six and a fourth runway, we will fight this all the way, we didn't before, we mean business now.My business friends use London City Airport for all their short haul and european flights, they don't touch Heathrow and see no point in it at all for them.

Pam Hardyment

I wish to say that the consultation process is a sham.  This government, in collusion with BAA, have rejected any open-minded apprasial of the pros and cons of this project.

The public and the governments own ANASE report have stated repeatedly that the current noise that residents are subjected to seriously annoys.  And yet the government has buried this report.  Nor did the government use the noise limit recommended in the ANASE report of 50dB (instead artefactually staying at 57dB to "manufacture" a "result".  How can we have any faith in their own studies re air pollution, local environmental effects and proposed economic benefits (remember the Aviation industry does not pay tax and so is placed apart and uncompetitively unjustly from other transport modes). 

The village of Sipson demolished.  The residents at risk of catatrosphe from an aviation disaster - as evident in the recent crash at heathrow.

The proposed expansion must stop.  Site new runways in the Thames Valley. 


last updated: 28/01/2008 at 10:25
created: 24/01/2008

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