Preparations at Heathrow Airport for the arrival of the A380 superjumbo are so far advanced that Terminal 5 is now ready to welcome the aircraft - two years ahead of it’s 30 March 2008 opening date.
Two new aircraft stands, which will be able to cater for the superjumbo, have been officially handed over by the T5 project to Heathrow Airport. The stands have been constructed to service a range of other aircraft as well as the A380 and they are already being put to use by planes operating at Terminal 3.
The A380 is expected to land at Heathrow later this year. A 280 metre-long building, Pier 6, has been specially constructed to service the aircraft at Terminal 3. New stands and taxi ways have also been necessary in order to accommodate the 80 metre-wide wingspan of the aircraft.
Andrew Wolstenholme, T5 Project Director says: “I am delighted that parts of T5 are being used by Heathrow Airport so far in advance of the terminal’s opening.
“The arrival of the A380 will be one of the most exciting events in aviation in over 30 years. The fact that Terminal 5 can accommodate the aircraft well in advance of its’ opening is a sign of the great progress being made and the foresight with which developments at the airport are being delivered.”
A total of twelve aircraft stands have now been handed over to the airport by the T5 project. The stands are located around Terminal 5’s satellite building, T5B. When open in 2008 Terminal 5 will provide Heathrow with an additional 47 aircraft stands, ten of which will be large enough to handle the A380. Following the completion of the project, when construction of T5’s second satellite building will finish in 2011, this number will rise to 60 aircraft stands.
Progress on the £4.bn Terminal 5 project remains on schedule and on budget.
At nearly 80 per cent complete work continues on the fit out of the interiors including the installation of mechanical and electrical services as well as IT systems. Testing and commissioning of T5’s mammoth baggage system is also well underway, while T5’s multi-storey car park is due to be completed by summer this year.