Qantasclub
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LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:20 pm

Theres no denying that LHR is one of the, if not THE most important and busy air transportation hub in the world. I know that there are several US hubs that are busier in terms of numbers of flights and passengers, but in international/long haul flights and international connections, LHR is way ahead of just about everybody else. SO...why is it such an appaling airport? Loyal fans and die hard locals may come to it's defense but anyone who has been through heathrow or flys through LHR often enough would agree that it is a mess. The terminal buildings are drab and old and tired. Upgrades here and there are token, the design and set up of the place is chaotic and confusing. (3 terminals bunched up in the middle, and one far over the other side) and everything takes FOREVER...especially check in at T3 during peak hours and just about always at T4. (BA intercontinental check in is horrendous!!). I flew through during a snow storm in January this year and about 60% of flights were cancelled. Those that were scheduled to fly had to wait for their plane to be de-iced...now, given that this is the world's busiest international airport, how many de-icing trucks do you think LHR had to use? The answer is..2. TWO! Our BA flight to LAX had to wait for about 5 hours at a remote stand because we were '23rd" in the queue. Our total delay was about 8 hours. That was a bad day, but I really think LHR should have been better prepared..US airports have to run normally during heavy snow and i'm sure they are better equipped.
I don't know if the situation will improve and I wonder if LHR is getting to the stage when it's infrastructure problems are plateauing it's growth and traffuc is being shunted to other European airports which i'm sure are more efficient.
Is the situation going to change anytime soon? Where is T5 up to on the drawing board?
I guess no matter what, London is such an great world city that LHR will always be an important hub. Maybe thats why it's so below standard....it's success is a refelction of the city's demand rather than anything impressive itself about heathrow.
It's still an amazing place and a sort of 'mecca' for me. The sight of BA 744s when one lands in the morning....sigh...just orgasmic.
Long Haul is the only way to go
 
Sjoerd
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:29 pm

Considering the number of direct international/intercontinental connections LHR is 4th in Europe behind FRA, CDG and AMS. With CDG and AMS not being as slot constraint, there are available slots. I don't know about number of pax.
Flanders + Wallonnia + Brussels = the UNITED STATES of BELGIUM
 
Qantasclub
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:35 pm

Really, Sjoerd; I didn't know that...so there are more passengers connecting through FRA, CDG and AMS than LHR? See, I guess this just proves my point, that LHR has already slipped behind. Serves them right.
Long Haul is the only way to go
 
caribb
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:36 pm

I agree LHR could do with some more renovations and organizational improvements. Nevertheless it is Heathrow, British Airways' hub and like you said probably the most important airport for international connections on the planet... that's still not going to change much. I've used Schiphol and Charles de Gaulle more often than Heathrow on my trips to Europe for many of the reasons you pointed out. Over my lifetime that airport seems to be in continual construction yet it never seems to really improve much. Schiphol on the other hand is a pleasure to go through. So is CDG if someone isn't on strike which seems more often than not. Some other key airports like Miami for instance are also under renovation but remain similarily difficult to use. Also like LHR, MIA continues to play a key role for connecting world wide despite it all. The more things change the more they stay the same sometimes.
 
Pe@rson
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:49 pm

Nothing's perfect. Nothing will ever be perfect. Nothing will mean everything to everyone.

Yeah, LHR is perhaps less convenient in its layout than FRA and AMS. But when were these airports built in comparison to LHR? If LHR decided to majorly modernise its current terminals, how would this be done? Would it not result in even more chaos and confusion? I submit that it will.

Everything should, of course, be done to maximise the appeal to the all-important consumer. However, it's important to remember that:

"Nothing's perfect. Nothing will ever be perfect. Nothing will mean everything to everyone."

Sjoerd said:

"Considering the number of direct international/intercontinental connections LHR is 4th in Europe behind FRA, CDG and AMS."

Can you prove this?

In 2003, LHR was declared the world's third-busiest airport in terms of passengers - and number one in Europe.

If what Sjoerd said was indeed true, then clearly the issue of connecting at LHR needs to be addressed. But it might not merely be due to the terminal layout - it might also be due to BA charging higher prices than LH, KL and AF. The consumer is often price-conscious, after all.
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G-KIRAN
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:50 pm

The problem with LHR is that there is no room left for expansion. T5 construction is already underwy but it will only be ready in 2008. The other terminals are just concrete sardine cans. Also a third runways is needed, again where is the space. The authorities should have realised that By the eary 1990's LHR was reaching saturation, they should have made a big decision and should have started grooming Stanstad for a replacement.

T5 should allow some breathing space. Hopefully all of BAs flights will be based there as it will ease connection time. Then they seriously need to do up the central terminals quickly, boy is T3 going to have problems when the A380 arrives.

Ultimatly I would like to see LGW and LHR closed down and a super airport built at Cliffe. That will take alot of noise pollution away from residents and it will allow lots of room for expansion. But of course people care more about the birds on cliffe then jobs and national porgress. What BAA and the government needs is a bit of dare and dash, rather than taking 13 years to make up their minds a la T5 style.
 
Qantasclub
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Mon Nov 24, 2003 10:07 pm

Interesting comments. This is exactly the problem with Sydney airport, which has reached saturation in terms of space, terminals and capacity, compounded by it's location close to the city (and therefore handicapped by noise curfews) and also with escalating passenger numbers, as a reslut of Sydney's boom after the olympics. The government has delayed making a decision about the new airport of decades and instead of making any long term decision to build a new airport at Badgery's creek, they have built a third runway, which sticks out awkwardly into Botany Bay. This has merely postponed the problem until the next saturation point is reached.
Just goes to show how important planning is from the start.
Now, fellas, STICK TO THE TOPIC. I was merely using Sydney as an example but this is about HEATHROW AIRPORT. So plz don't reply about Sydney. Heathrow. Now get on with it.
Long Haul is the only way to go
 
BestWestern
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Mon Nov 24, 2003 10:10 pm

Once they open Terminal 5 BAA will have the option to close and refurbish one of the central terminals, starting with Terminal 3.
You are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a flight than an average person!
 
Arsenal@LHR
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Mon Nov 24, 2003 10:33 pm

The current terminals were designed in the 60's and 70's, when it was designed nobody expected Heathrow to be handling 63 million passengers a year. The new terminal 5 will be a welcome addition to the airport, but BAA have to find ways of refurbishing and re-aranging the terminal layouts as a lot of people complain about connecting flights. Whatever BAA does, it must ensure that LHR remains the world's most important hub and ahead of our continental European rivals like AMS, CDG, FRA.

In Arsene we trust!!
 
JGPH1A
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Mon Nov 24, 2003 10:42 pm

I agree with QantasClub on this one (as per my incessant rants in other threads on this same subject). I can see how it will be very difficult to substantially rebuild the central area terminals, because they are so full and have no space around them for expansion, and some progress has been made eg. Flight Connections centre serving T1 and T2.

But overall LHR is in a pretty sorry state, and can we guess why ? Chronic underinvestment in infrastructure by rapidly and poorly privatised monopoly enterprises cf UK railways, ATC, buses, etc etc etc.

BAA were given a huge and massively lucrative monopoly on air travel in the South East and what have they done ? Built shopping malls in the terminals and completely neglected the actual air transport infrastructue they control. What's the only thing they've done to improve jetways and gate piers ? Plaster the name of HSBC all over them - that's it, nothing else ! The only upgrades they are prepared to countenance are those paid for by other people eg. the Heathrow Express (GBP20 a time for a 15 minute train ride, bit outrageous, which is why so few people use it, and therefore the checkin at Paddington has had to be closed).

BAA should either be renationalised (fat chance) or else broken up, so that each of the 3 London airports it owns have to compete for traffic (this would mean the Bermuda 2 would have to go as well, because of the unfair limits it places on traffic to LHR - this would be a highly desirable side effect).

LHR may be handicapped because it was built in the 50's when nobody thought it would ever need to get as big as it already has - but if there had been sustained investment in the infrastructure, and T5 had been finished by 2000 (as it should have been), LHR would be as good if not better than AMS and CDG right now.

I disagree that Cliffe should replace LHR and LGW - Cliffe is one of the fairly rare areas of unspoiled wetland left in the South East, whereas as LHR especially is already a polluted concrete hell, so why not just make an already bad situation marginally worse rather than destroying unspoilt countryside. LHR/LGW will never become unspoilt wildlife preserves, even if they are closed - they'll just get built over anyway. People who move to Richmond or Hounslow and then complain about aircraft noise deserve no sympathy. The airport has been there since 1948, and was a lot noiser in the 70's. Did anyone imagine for a moment that it would magically disappear because Friends of the NIMBY got up a petition ? Get real. LHR is a reality and a blight, accustom yourselves to it (and move house).
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
Ryanair!!!
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Mon Nov 24, 2003 11:09 pm

5 terminals but only 2 runways... Hmm... I don't envy the air traffic controllers.
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LHR340
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Tue Nov 25, 2003 1:07 am

No one seems to understand that T1,2&3 we're built in the 50's and 60's, BAA did not expect the airport to grow at the rate it did, LHR is the most important airport in Europe and the busiest, and the 3rd busiest airport in the world - people should stop complaining about Heathrow when a lot of money has already been put in to it, and a lot of refurbishments are already happening. I have never connected through Heathrow but I can guess that it would be hard connecting through if you don't know about the transport and the layout of the airport - So please stop complaining about it!

LHR340
A340 LoVeR! EC-GQK - LHR The Bussiest International Airport & 3rd Bussiest In The World!
 
JGPH1A
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Tue Nov 25, 2003 1:14 am

LHR340 - possibly a lot of money has been put into LHR, but clearly not in the right places. Instally a branch of Harrods at T4, putting in duty free on either side of the arrivals corridor at T1 and modifying the layout in T3 airside to be able to squeeze in more shops hardly count as massive improvements in customer convenience ! I feel I have every right to complain about LHR, and I will continue to do so. Clearly nobody at BAA takes the slightest interest in the needs of the primary users ie. passengers and airlines - they are only interested in those who make money from the airport ie. shareholders and retailers. After all, they have a monopoly, so why should they worry ? Nobody is going to open a competing airport and take all their business away.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
Sjoerd
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Tue Nov 25, 2003 1:33 am

I got the impression that some of you got me wrong. LHR is Europe's 4th airport regarding number of different direct destinations/possible connections. It is possible that more pax go through LHR but then to fewer destinations. I have proof of it Pe@rson, look on page 16 from the link below.

http://www.britishairways.com/runways/runway3_seras.doc

Besides some numbers this BA document is about LHR and it's problems and it also looks at the future of South England Airports. BA wants one major hub (LHR most likely, it has the most investments). Anyway, you can read it for yourself. Quite a read though.

Cheers, Sjoerd.
Flanders + Wallonnia + Brussels = the UNITED STATES of BELGIUM
 
petertenthije
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Tue Nov 25, 2003 1:36 am

When T5 opens there will be a lot more capacity. Would it be possible to then close down one or more of the old terminals and move all flights to the new terminal? If so, the old terminals can then be completely renovated without fear of disrupting passengers. Better yet, it will be possible to level the old terminal(s) and build something that can meet todays and tomorrows demands. It would even give BAA the opportunity to build yet more stores! Its a win-win situation for everyone!  Big grin

Of course it will be very expensive and an organizational nightmare, but the current terminals really are unworthy of a great city like London.

[Edited 2003-11-24 17:39:05]
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Sjoerd
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Tue Nov 25, 2003 5:29 am

An extra runway is the most urgent.
Flanders + Wallonnia + Brussels = the UNITED STATES of BELGIUM
 
donder10
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Tue Nov 25, 2003 5:50 am

Perhaps so but LHR-Europe connections are not the be all and end all as SR,LX,SN and to some degree KL have shown.LHR is much more of an O&D traffic airport with good connections from the US-Africa/India.
 
Qantasclub
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Tue Nov 25, 2003 12:28 pm

yes, it's an absolute guarantee that when SQ and Qantas get their first A380s, they will fly them straight into LHR head to head and what chaos that will be! I agree with Petertenthije's suggestion of sequentially shutting down and rebuiling from scratch each terminal when T5 opens. It needs to be major and not just cosmetic. there's too much at stake for them not to.
Long Haul is the only way to go
 
dan-air
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Tue Nov 25, 2003 12:39 pm

The BAA is a joke, always has been. Completely inept. The poster that spoke about their "modernization" efforts as consisting of adding endless shopping malls and the HSBC signs was right on. There's all kinds of staff in those shops, yet when you're ready to go through passport control and into the dep. lounge there's always horrendous lines, understaffed security etc.etc.

I mainly travel through the south terminal at LGW - the check-in areas are a model of innefficiency with long snaking lines and super-slow staff working the check-in desks. They need to set up dedicated check-in for passengers that have all their travel papers in order, already have seats assigned etc. How many times have you stood behind some idiot that wants to change his connections, doesn't have a proper ticket and so on. Make those people wait, let me through and into the bar!
 
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mariner
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RE: LHR Needs To Shape Up Or Lose Out.

Tue Nov 25, 2003 1:14 pm

Gosh. You all make me feel so OLD.

The first time I flew out of LHR, the "terminals" were canvas tents, and the floors were duckboards over the earth.

But it was fun.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

cheers

mariner
aeternum nauta