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New Heathrow Terminal 5 prompts airline moves

The opening of the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow at the end of March will see a number of airlines moving from their existing terminals at Heathrow.

British Airways is moving more than 90% of its flights to Terminal 5 in two phases. On 27 March all BA’s long haul and domestic flights from Terminal 1 plus all short haul flights from T1 (except flights to Barcelona, Helsinki, Lisbon, Madrid and Nice), and all short haul flights from Terminal 4, plus all Miami flights from Terminal 3 will move to the new T5.

On 30 March BA will move its daily Dallas/Fort Worth flight and twice-daily Houston flight from Gatwick to Heathrow Terminal 5. Then on 30 April BA long haul flights currently operating from Terminal 4, including flights to New York, Washington, Delhi and Cape Town but excluding those operated in a code-share agreement with Qantas to Sydney, Singapore and Bangkok, will also move to T5.

BA is part of the oneworld alliance of airlines which between them account for more than 50% of traffic at Heathrow. BA’s remaining Heathrow flights will move into Terminal 3 – the closest terminal to T5 – on 17 September and in early 2009.

Terminal 3 at Heathrow is itself undergoing a major £1 billion improvement programme to bring it into line with the new standards being set by Terminal 5. Other oneworld alliance partners American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian are already based at T3.

Remaining oneworld partners will gradually move to Terminal 5. Finnair moves from T1 and Iberia from T2 on 17 September, with Qantas following from T4 in early 2009.

As a result of the terminal moves, minimum connecting times for oneworld passengers at Heathrow will be reduced from 90 to 60 minutes for BA flights arriving at and departing from T5, and flights by any oneworld member airline both arriving at and departing from T3.

A new hi-tech underground baggage system being built at Heathrow by 2011 promises to further improve transfers between Terminal 3 and Terminal 5.

Written by: Nick Purdom