All set for phase one of oneworld airlines' London Heathrow moves

26 March 2008

Passengers flying to or from London Heathrow or connecting at the airport are being reminded to check which terminal their flights will use as around 50 airlines there - including British Airways and a number of other oneworld®  members - switch locations in series of moves starting this Thursday (27 March).


The changes will see oneworld airlines consolidate their operations at their main European hub from across all four of the existing terminals into just two terminals.

Minimum connections times between oneworld flights at the airport also change as a result of the moves.

To confirm which terminal their flights will use, passengers should check their airline's website, or

This Thursday (27 March) British Airways will switch some 70 per cent of its operations at its home base into the new GBP4.3 billion (US$8.6 billion) Terminal 5.

These include all its domestic and European flights (with the exception of Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Nice and Helsinki), plus its flights serving Tripoli and its longhaul services to and from Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Tokyo Narita and Vancouver.

On 30 April, Phase 2 of the moves takes place, with British Airways completing its transfer into Terminal 5, adding a further 20 per cent of its Heathrow flights there, including longhaul flights currently operating at Terminal 4 with the exception of services operated as part of the code-share agreement with Qantas (Bangkok, Singapore and Sydney).

British Airways' 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. Alliance partners American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian are already based at Terminal 3.

On 17 September, British Airways flights serving Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Nice and Helsinki move there from Terminal 1 - along with Finnair's Heathrow flights, also transferring from Terminal 1, and Iberia's operations, switching from Terminal 2. Iberia's sister airline Click Air (which is not part of oneworld) also moves to Terminal 3 at the same time.

Early in 2009, British Airways flights serving Bangkok, Singapore and Sydney (operated with QF code-share) and all Qantas flights move from Terminal 4 to Terminal 3, completing the oneworld relocations.

Terminal 3 is undergoing a massive GBP1 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.

Currently, the standard minimum connecting time (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, with transfers wholly within Terminal 3 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.

British Airways is investing GBP60 million (US$120 million) in what will be the world's largest suite of airline lounges at Terminal 5, "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. For further details of British Airways' offering at Terminal 5, see

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.

oneworld member 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.

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

About oneworld

oneworld brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Qantas and Royal Jordanian, and around 20 affiliates including American Eagle, Dragonair, LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru.

Between them, these airlines:

  • Serve almost 700 airports in nearly 150 countries, with more than 9 000 daily departures.
  • Offer almost 550 airport lounges for premium customers.
  • Carry more than 320 million passengers a year.
  • Employ 250 000 people.
  • Operate almost 2 500 aircraft.
  • Generate more than US$90 billion annual revenues.

The alliance enables its members to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. These include a broader route network, opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and points across the combined oneworld network and more airport lounges.

oneworld was voted the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the fifth year running in the latest (2007) World Travel Awards.