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oneworld sets out Heathrow schedule

Member airlines of the oneworld alliance that will change locations at London Heathrow this year have all confirmed the schedule for their moves and minimum connection times at the airport resulting from the moves.The changes will result in the eight oneworld airlines that serve the airport consolidating their operations from across all four of the existing terminals into just two terminals at the alliance’s main European hub.

Between them, these airlines account for more than 50 per cent of Heathrow’s traffic with around 35 million passengers a year travelling on around 700 departures and arrivals a day.

British Airways, for which London Heathrow is its home base, will consolidate more than 90 per cent of its operations at the airport into the new GBP4.3 billion (US$8.6 billion) Terminal 5 (T5), in two phases, on 27 March and 30 April.

Its remaining Heathrow operations will move, alongside those of all other oneworld airlines serving the airport, into Terminal 3, which is the closest of the existing terminals to Terminal 5. These British Airways Terminal 3 moves will take place on 17 September and in early 2009.

oneworld partners American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian are already based at Terminal 3. Finnair will move there from Terminal 1 and Iberia from Terminal 2, also on 17 September, with Qantas following from Terminal 4 in early 2009.


Terminal 3 is undergoing a massive GBP 1 billion (US$2 billion) improvement programme to bring it up to standards similar to the Terminal 5, so all oneworld airlines at Heathrow will be able to offer their customers a state-of-the-art passenger experience whether they are flying to or from London, or transferring there between oneworld airline flights.

Connections between all oneworld member airlines’ flights in Terminals 3 and 5 will be as smooth and seamless as possible. A state-of-the-art underground baggage system to be built in a tunnel under the airport’s taxiways by 2011 will improve transfers between Terminals 3 and 5 still further.

The terminal moves will take place on the following dates:

27 March: 70 per cent of British Airways’ Heathrow flights will move to Terminal 5 including:

  * All longhaul flights from Terminal 1 (serving Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Tokyo Narita, San Francisco and Vancouver).
  * All UK domestic flights from Terminal 1.
  * All shorthaul flights from Terminal 1 (except for Barcelona, Helsinki, Lisbon, Madrid and Nice)
  * All shorthaul flights from Terminal 4.
  * Miami flights, which currently operate from Terminal 3.

29 March: American Airlines transfers its Raleigh/Durham route and one of its two daily Dallas/Fort Worth flights from London Gatwick to London Heathrow Terminal 3. This will increase American’s Heathrow operations to 17 departures a day to seven USA gateways.

30 March: British Airways moves its daily Dallas/Fort Worth flight and twice-daily Houston service from London Gatwick to London Heathrow Terminal 5.

30 April: A further 20 per cent of British Airways’ Heathrow flights move to Terminal 5, including longhaul flights currently operating at Terminal 4 (eg New York, Washington, Delhi and Cape Town) with the exception of flights operated as part of the code-share agreement with Qantas (Bangkok, Singapore, Sydney).

17 September:

  * British Airways flights serving Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Nice and Helsinki move from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3.
  * Finnair’s Heathrow flights move from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3.
  * Iberia’s Heathrow flights move from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3. Iberia’s sister airline ClickAir (which is not part of oneworld) also moves at this time.

Early in 2009 (on a date to be finalised soon):

  * British Airways flights serving Bangkok, Singapore, Sydney (operated with QF code-share) move from Terminal 4 to Terminal 3.
  * Qantas flights move from Terminal 4 to Terminal 3.

British Airways says its new Terminal 5 base will “restore the prestige of the UK’s national hub and set standards of passenger comfort and convenience which will surpass those of its European rivals at Paris Charles De Gaulle, Amsterdam Schiphol and Frankfurt”.

It is investing GBP60 million (US$120 million) there in what will be the world’s largest suite of airline lounges, “setting new standards in comfort and luxury” for its First, Club World, Club Europe and Gold and Silver Executive Club customers and oneworld Emerald and Sapphire equivalents.

British Airways will also be opening new lounges for its First and Business Class passengers at Terminal 3, to be used also by Qantas’ premium passengers, and available also to premium passengers flying with Finnair and Iberia, along with top-tier cardholders from all oneworld airline frequent flyer programmes. American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines will retain their own lounges at Terminal 3.

In total, 50 of the 90 or so airlines serving Heathrow will move terminals in a series of moves starting with British Airways’ first move to Terminal 5 on 27 March. For full details, see

Minimum connecting times (MCTs) for passengers transferring between flights by oneworld member airlines at London Heathrow will change as a result of the terminal moves.

Currently, the standard MCT for passengers connecting between flights by different airlines at the airport is 90 minutes.

MCTs will be reduced to 60 minutes for passengers connecting between:

  * British Airways flights both arriving at and departing from Terminal 5.
  * Flights by any oneworld member airline both arriving at and departing from Terminal 3.

Transfers wholly within Terminal 3 will be eased by oneworld airlines there sharing or using adjacent facilities, such as check-in desks, gates and lounges.

MCTs involving connections between Terminal 5 and all the airport’s other four terminals will be extended to 120 minutes for the new facility’s first full flying season, with the additional time designed to deliver a robust service while customers and employees become familiar with the new building and transfer processes.

From the beginning of next winter’s flying programme (26 October 2008), MCTs between Terminal 5 and Terminal 3, where the other oneworld airlines and the rest of BA’s operations will consolidate, will be reduced to 90 minutes. The 90-minute MCT will also apply to connections between Terminal 5 and both Terminals 1 and 2, while connections between Terminal 5 and Terminal 4 will be reduced to 110 minutes.

Once the underground automated baggage system is implemented between Terminals 3 and 5 in 2011, MCTs between Terminals 5 and 3 will be further reduced.