The first passengers to use Terminal 5 (T5) will arrive on a British Airways flight from Hong Kong, early on Thursday 27 March 2008. T5 is for British Airways flights only and most BA flights will move there. Around 40,000 passengers will pass through the terminal on day one. Heathrow is the world's busiest international airport and T5 is expected to have 35 million passengers a year.
Official Website: www.heathrowairport.com/t5
Terminal 5 is the largest free-standing building in the UK and is as big as 50 football pitches or Hyde Park in central London. There is enough glass to stretch between Terminal 5 and Buckingham Palace. The roof can be raised to add another layer in the future. There are 7 floors: 4 above the ground and 3 below. The depth to the bottom of the building is deeper than the height of St. Paul's Cathedral.
Terminal 5 consists of three buildings – the main terminal plus two satellites, Terminals 5B and 5C, linked by an automated transit system. The automated Track Transit System (TTS) is an underground train that goes every 1.5 minutes and takes only 45 seconds. No smoking is permitted throughout the terminal and transit links.
Terminal 5 has the second longest escalator in the UK. The longest is at Angel tube station on the Northern Line. Don't walk on this escalator as it is very disorientating.
A dedicated spur road has been built from the M25 (orbital road around London) and there are 6,000 car park spaces.
The London Underground Piccadilly Line and the Heathrow Express train have been extended for T5 passengers. There is also a mainline train link.
70% of T5 passengers are expectd to check-in online so there are 140 self-service kiosks and you shouldn't wait more than ten minutes. There are still 60 check-in desks if you want the personal touch.
Domestic and International passengers have access to the same retail facilities which include:
- a Gordon Ramsey restaurant
- Two branches of Harrods
There is limited advertising on the Departures Concourse to minimize any confusion but Nokia have a contract to advertise on the building behind the check-in desks. There will be a laser show of bees and butterflies moving along the building.
The new airport control tower is 87 meters high.
During construction, two rivers were diverted around the Terminal 5 site. Fish and other water creatures were moved before the diversion, and the new channels were made habitable for wildlife.
There are 11 miles of baggage conveyor belt and baggage can travel at up to 30mph.
The UK's biggest single-site dig unearthed 80,000 items including pots, cups, buckets, flints, and a 3,000BC hand axe.