Politics

The story of Heathrow’s Terminal 1 which no longer exists

Heathrow Airport is used by millions of people every year (pre-Covid anyway).

The UK’s largest airport is a place many of us visit when going on holiday – unless you work there of course!

But there’s something very interesting – perhaps even strange – about the West London transport hub.

It doesn’t have a Terminal 1.

If you take a look at a map of the Piccadilly line, you’ll see it goes to Terminals 4, 5 or 2 and 3.

But what about Terminal 1? Surely it can’t have just been left off the Tube map?!

The truth is, it doesn’t exist anymore.

So what happened to this mysterious lost terminal in an airport that’s ever-expanding?

Terminal 1 did exist and one stage, and for quite a few years.

It was in operation between 1968 and 2015, having been officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in April 1969, when it became the largest airport terminal in western Europe.

Heathrow Airport no longer has a Terminal 1

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Yet by the time it closed on June 29 (2015), the terminal had only been handling 20 British Airways flights a day to nine destinations, which compared to the approximate 1,300 flights per day across the other terminals, is pretty small.

While in the past, Terminal 1 had catered for flights by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Icelandair, El Al and TAM Airlines, among others, all the airport companies started to peel off and move to other terminals in the months preceding the close down.

The last flight from Terminal 1 was the British Airways BA0970 to Hanover in Germany, which departed at 9.30pm on June 29, 2015.

Why did it close?

Quite simply to allow for the expansion of Terminal 2.

This seems counter-intuitive, but by this time Heathrow already had four other terminals it was looking to expand.

At the time, Heathrow chief executive John Holland Kaye told the BBC: “Terminal 1 has served Britain well for nearly 50 years, but will soon make way for the expansion of Terminal 2, giving Britain a world class airport that we can all be proud of.”

The story of Heathrow's Terminal 1 which no longer exists
Terminal 1 was closed to make way for the expansion of Terminal Two

So it was all part of the future improvements to Heathrow, especially as it came in the same week that the decision to build a third runway at the airport would be made.

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