The first part of the T5 infrastructure becomes operational, four years ahead of the terminal’s opening date and one year ahead of schedule. Four new aircraft stands, which come into use at Heathrow this week, offer another signal to the progress of the airport’s prestigious Terminal 5 project. The stands and an accompanying 600 metre length of new taxiway are the first parts of Terminal 5’s infrastructure to come into play for Heathrow’s busy present day operation.The handover of four new stands to the existing airport is 11 months ahead of BAA’s regulatory commitments and gives clear indication that a regulatory milestone is on target. It further demonstrates the £4.2 billion scheme is well on schedule and on budget for completion in spring 2008.
A further six new stands will be presented to Heathrow by the end of the year, and all will help offset some temporary loss of stand capacity at Terminal 3 to accommodate preparatory works for the A380 super-jumbo’s arrival in 2006 and support the interim growth of Heathrow.
The first four stands are situated at the eastern edge of the Terminal 5 site, closest to the existing airfield, and cover an area of 13 football pitches. They will be capable of handling a range of aircraft up to jumbo jets and include Heathrow’s first full scale A380 stand. All the stands will all be fully serviced including fixed electrical ground power to help limit environmental impacts.
Initially the stands will be used for remote parking for aircraft from a number of airlines on long turnarounds of over 4 and a half hours, so will not be used by passengers directly. Next spring, with the completion of Heathrow’s Airside Road Tunnel link to the airport’s central terminal area, the new stands will allow passengers to be coached to and from their terminal.
BAA Heathrow managing director, Mick Temple, said: “These four stands signal good progress on Terminal 5 and enable works for the A380 to advance without a negative impact on airline schedules. The stands epitomise the good planning going in to safeguarding service standards at Heathrow for passengers today, and the huge investment in infrastructure we are making here for passengers of the future”.
Terminal 5’s pavement designers TPS Consult, led by BAA, have spent three years working with constructors AMEC perfecting the unique mix of concrete being used so that not only is it stronger to handle heavier aircraft but it can also be laid in layers up to 200mm thinner than usual. With less concrete required, by the time the T5 airfield is complete this will have resulted in up to 27,000 fewer deliveries to the site and the equivalent of a 60,000 tonne reduction in the gases produced by the cement manufacturing process.