With year-on-year growth exceeding expectations, Heathrow Airport is already setting records. Over 77 million passengers and 1.6 million metric tonnes of cargo passed through the airport in the last 12 months. In fact, Heathrow handles more freight by value than all other UK airports combined.
Development of the area has accelerated since the government approved the building of a third runway. This has included enhancements to public transport and the business travel experience, as well as plans for as many as 18 new hotels.
Following a recent visit to the area, our team have summarised the most interesting new developments…
Public Transport Enhancement
Several public transport initiatives are currently underway to support Heathrow’s sustainability goals:
- From 2019, there will be 22 trains per hour between Heathrow and Central London (this includes Piccadilly Line, Elizabeth Line and Heathrow Express services).
- The airport’s new agreement to secure Elizabeth Line services will cut travel time (Bond Street to Terminal 5 will take just 27 minutes).
- New ticket readers will add convenience with passengers able to use Oyster cards and contactless devices from May 2018.
The aim is for at least 50% of journeys to/from Heathrow Airport to be by electric or low emission public transport by 2030.
Business Travel Experience
Heathrow recently announced an exclusive partnership with FlyFit to open the world’s first wellness and fitness studio in an airport. Opening Autumn 2017, the studio will offer passengers both instructor-led and interactive strength, restorative yoga and cardio classes. Located after security at Terminal 2, the FlyFit team will provide rental workout clothing, shower facilities and healthy food options. A great option for business travellers who want to stay fit while on the fly.
Hotel and Conference Facilities
There has been speculation that as many as 18 new hotels will soon be built to service Heathrow as it expands. Just last month a new Premier Inn opened, adding 700 bedrooms to the vicinity. Ground has also been broken for the Aurora Group’s new dual-branded Crowne Plaza & Holiday Inn Express at Terminal 4, which is due to open next year.
Established properties in the area are stepping up their game ahead of this new level of competition. Our team recently visited four Heathrow Airport hotels and were impressed to see a range of renovations and refurbishments underway…
- Location: Bath Road, just a short drive or bus ride from the airport.
- Bedrooms: Large with all amenities. Some include stunning views of the runway, and yet are surprisingly quiet.
- Meeting Space: Established meeting rooms have been softly refurbished and five new rooms are on the way.
- Food: Delicious, varied menu with great mini-desserts.
- Best Feature: Blue Sky Room on the top floor includes 360 degree views. Light, spacious and modern, perfect for corporate events and meetings.
- Location: Bath Road
- Bedrooms: Currently being refurbished. The new rooms are modern, light and airy.
- Meeting Space: The conference facilities have also been recently refurbished, with eye-catching airport themed décor and well-designed communal areas. Some feature whiteboard walls.
- Food: Lots of healthy options and fresh salads.
- Best Feature: Multi-functional meeting rooms which offer flexible options, many rooms inter-linking.
- Location: Bath Road, with transport options including a free shuttle bus from the airport and new driverless pods from terminal 5.
- Bedrooms: These are perhaps a little dated, but nice and spacious.
- Meeting Space: The largest meeting rooms are on the ground floor and benefit from their own entrance and breakout space, as well as wall length windows and an outside terrace overlooking the runway. There are some smaller meeting rooms upstairs, which benefit from natural daylight and stunning views.
- Best Feature: The driverless pods, which are exclusive to this hotel.
- Location: Just off Bath Road, close to motorway.
- Bedrooms: All the rooms were decorated recently and are of good quality.
- Meeting Space: The conference centre includes a variety of rooms and breakout areas, with the option of splitting the largest meeting room into four spaces.
- Best Feature: Designated Conference Centre which is separate from the main hotel.
It’s all happening at Heathrow! As passenger levels continue to rise and new trade links are opened up with China, we expect to see rapid development at the Airport, well ahead of the new runway being added. We’ll be sure to keep you informed.