oneworld member airlines to move from four to two terminals at London Heathrow

Travel News Asia 14 March 2006

The member airlines of the oneworld alliance and BAA Heathrow have signed an agreement which will ensure a world-class passenger experience for customers following the opening of the London airports Terminal 5 in March 2008.

Currently oneworld carriers are split across all four of Heathrows terminals. Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) just signed between them and BAA Heathrow, their operations will be consolidated in the GBP4.2 billion (US$7.6 billion) Terminal 5 and in an up-graded Terminal 3, which is the closest of the existing terminals to the new facility. oneworld carriers will share adjacent check-in desks, piers and other facilities in Terminal 3.

BAA Heathrow describes the MoU as a key part of its strategy to co-locate airline alliances. It is currently investing significantly in Terminal 3 and its agreement with oneworld will ensure that the transformation of Terminal 3 continues. To provide a better overall customer experience at Terminal 3, the building will undergo a multi-million pound modernisation programme with GBP200 million to be spent on passenger and baggage-related projects during the next seven years.

The check-in area will be reshaped and expanded to minimise congestion, make it easier for passengers to find their way around and provide more natural light. Latest technology and infrastructure will be incorporated into new baggage systems and other passenger services.

Connections between all oneworld member carriers flights in Terminals 3 and 5 will be as smooth and seamless as possible, assisted by a state-of-the-art underground baggage system that will link all Heathrows terminals, built in tunnels under the airports taxiways.

The MoU covers all seven of the existing oneworld member airlines serving Heathrow - British Airways, for which the airport is its home base, along with American Airlines, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, Finnair and Aer Lingus. It also makes provision for all three of the carriers currently lining up to join the alliance - Japan Airlines, Malv and Royal Jordanian. The agreement makes provision for their growth in Terminal 3 as Heathrows overall capacity expands in the future.

British Airways will be the only airline housed at the new Terminal 5. The size and shape of its Heathrow schedule in 2008 will mean a small number of its services will be located at Terminal 3. These will include its departures to Australia and Spain, to maximise the cohesion of its joint services with oneworld partners Qantas and Iberia.

The UK carriers operations at London Heathrow are currently split between three terminals - 1, 3 and 4. Of the alliances other carriers, four are already based at Terminal 3 - American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and candidate members Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian. The MoU will mean Aer Lingus and Finnair moving to join them from Terminal 1, Iberia and Malv from Terminal 2, and Qantas from Terminal 4.

British Airways will be the first to move, transferring its services into Terminal 5 when it opens in two years time. It is anticipated that the oneworld relocation into Terminal 3 will be completed by 2009, in line with the airports overall airline re-location plan.

The alliances co-location at London Heathrow will follow the transfer of all its member airlines serving Madrid into its new EUR6 billion Terminal 4 on 5 February 2006. 

oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch said, oneworld's aims to bring the operations of our member airlines together at all key airports around the world wherever it make sense and is possible. Terminal 5s opening at London Heathrow provides us with a golden opportunity to do just this at the alliances major European hub. This landmark agreement with BAA Heathrow ensures all of our airlines 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.

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