Airfield; Terminals, Satellites and Aprons

Since the first private aerodrome opened on the site in 1930, Heathrow's airfield has been continually adapted and improved, resulting in the strategically important hub airport which exists today.

New airfield

Expansion will enable us to further improve our airfield, prioritising efficiency for airlines and passengers whilst balancing the needs of our local communities. In particular, our entire Project has been designed around a scheme with the proposed new runway to the north west of the existing two runways, to minimise the effects of noise for local communities, including densely populated areas in London.

The new airfield will be made up of the new north west runway and related infrastructure, including taxiways.

In line with the Airports NPS, the proposed runway will be 3,500m long and located north west of the airport. It has a total width of 60m, which includes a 45m wide runway with 7.5m wide paved shoulders on each side. The distance between the centreline of the proposed new runway and the centreline of the existing northern runway will be 1,035m. The position of this runway was considered to be the best performing option as it will minimise environmental effects and property loss.

The new runway has been designed to allow aircraft to touchdown approximately 550m further along the runway than would typically be the case at Heathrow today. This is known as a ‘displaced threshold’ and will help to reduce the effects of noise on our neighbours as aircraft will be higher as they fly over local communities.

Around the End Taxiways (ATETs) will be positioned at the western end of the central runway and will allow aircraft to travel between the new runway and the existing airfield without affecting the operation of the central runway. Positioning the taxiways in this area will minimise taxiing time to the northern runway and have less effect on residential and commercial property than if taxiways were built to the east.

Western Bypass Taxiways will be located to the west of Terminal 5 and will help to reduce congestion within the existing airfield by providing an alternative north-south route for taxiing aircraft.

What are taxiways?

Taxiways act as the ‘arteries’ of the airport, enabling aircraft to move between areas for parking, refuelling and boarding passengers safely and efficiently.

Terminals, satellites and aprons

Terminals are where passengers spend most of their time at an airport and are important to the overall passenger experience. Terminals 2 and 5 have both been named the world’s best airport terminal in the last two years, and Heathrow has been voted the best airport in Western Europe.

Expansion is an opportunity to build on this, and make our terminal capacity more efficient, support world-class passenger service, and build sustainability and great design into our plans.

New terminal capacity and apron space will be split between the expanded Terminal 5 Campus and the Central Terminal Area (CTA), comprising Terminals 2 and 3. It has been positioned to minimise land take by making the best use of land between the existing runways.

In the CTA the extension of Terminal 2 to the north (T2A) and the construction of satellites T2C and T2D will increase capacity to 52 million passengers per annum (mppa). Terminal 3 is proposed to be demolished in the later stages of the construction of the Project and aircraft stands will be provided in its place. The CTA will be reconfi gured to deliver an improved Public Transport Interchange for buses and trains and commercial areas.

Terminal 1 will be demolished, whilst Terminal 4 will be modified to allow for changes to the southern runway. The Terminal 5 Campus will be reconfigured and expanded, increasing the throughput of passengers from 33mppa to 40mppa. The Terminal 5 stand layout will be reconfigured to increase the number of points where aircraft can connect to the terminal.

A new terminal and apron, T5X, will be constructed and connected to the west of Terminal 5. At a later stage T5X will be expanded with a northern satellite, referred to as T5X North located between the existing central runway and the proposed runway.

Terminals 5 and 5X will include a public transport interchange, vehicle drop off/ pick-up, passenger transit facilities, commercial developments and supporting facilities, such as hotels and offices.

Terminals in the CTA and expanded T5 Campus will be connected with new parking facilities provided at two multi-storey car parking locations, known as parkways. These will be located to the north and south of the airport near the strategic road network and will reduce journeys on airport and local roads.

What are terminals, satellites and aprons?

Terminals are buildings at an airport that provide all of the facilities needed to allow passengers to board and disembark from aircraft. Some passengers will board aircraft directly from terminals, whereas others will transfer to remote satellites to board aircraft at ‘remote satellite terminals’.

Aircraft require areas for parking, unloading or loading, refuelling and boarding passengers. These are known as aprons and are usually located adjacent to terminals or satellites.

Terminal 1 will be demolished, before this Terminal 4 will be modified to allow for changes to the southern runway.

The Terminal 5 Campus will be expanded by reconfiguring satellite T5A and extending existing satellites T5B and T5C to the north and south, increasing the throughput of passengers from 33mppa to 40mppa. The Terminal 5 stand layout will be reconfigured to increase the number of points where aircraft can connect to the terminal.

A new terminal, T5X, will be constructed and will be connected to Terminal 5 by an apron built west of T5.

The West Campus Landside Terminal Zone will include a public transport interchange, vehicle drop off/ pick-up, passenger transit facilities, commercial developments and passenger facilities, such as hotels and offices.

Both landside terminal zones in the east and the west will be connected with the parkways.

See how Heathrow will develop on a map

Use our Plans section to view an interactive map that steps through each phase of development in the Heathrow Expansion project.