Heathrow Airport London
Heathrow is like the British capital – multi-cultural, overloaded and eclectic, yet always sympathetic, There is no need for world famous architects, nor for brilliant building projects and terminals here.
The British Empire honors the self-sacrifice and dedication of her subjects. Heathrow is the biggest airport on the island and one of the top three in passenger volume in the world. During its 64 years in existence it has been transformed from a peaceful meadow, where the high-ranking passengers waited in a tent before launching out on a somewhat adventurous journey, into the present-day’s giant station for 68 million passengers per year – flying for business, entertainment or both.
The thousands of workers who take care of the trouble-free operation of this airport remain unknown, because, if everything is fine and life goes well, are names really important? Heathrow is located southwest of London, about 22 kilometers from the center of the metropolis. The position of its runways causes arriving airplanes to pass over the city on their approach. This is terrific for the travelers, who have the chance to see the English capital from a bird’s eye view. Yet, prior to the strict European noise regulations, this was likely quite annoying for the early residents of the city, who were constantly shaken by the jet engines’ vibrations. Everything would have been quite different if Hitler had not waged the notorious air war against England. In 1944, as a part of the measures for air supremacy, the British War Office decided to develop the zone around the village of Heathrow as a major transport center to be at the disposal of the Royal Air Force (RAF).
The war ended, however, and the construction of runways and facilities, which had begun during the war, warranted a change in the function of the site so it was turned into the main center for civil aviation, replacing the Heston and Hanworth Park aerodromes of the time. In the beginning, “the main center for civil aviation” consisted of a field regularly mowed short instead of a runway, and a huge military tent instead of a terminal. As time passed and aviation developed new facilities began to emerge on the site. The original plan was for the construction of six runways in the form of a pentagram, so that there would be suitable conditions for take-offs and landings despite differing air currents. Later, that plan was abandoned and the runways reduced to only three. (Today there are two; the third was converted into a taxiing route long ago).