Heathrow is a major international airport, based in the London, United Kingdom, and is the world’s second busiest airport for international passenger traffic. FORWARDER have put together a brief history and fact file about Heathrow, including some of its biggest achievements. 


Heathrow Airport is located fourteen miles west of Central London, and its runways run east-west. Its site covers 12.27 square kilometres and is owned by Heathrow Airport Holdings. While Heathrow is London’s most popular airport, there are six other airports located in the London area, including Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton, Southend and London City.


In 1930, Richard Fairey, a British aero engineer and aircraft builder bought the 150-acre plot for £15,000 to build a private airport and to assemble aircrafts. After minor airfield in 1929, which at the time, was accompanied by farms, market gardens and orchards. It wasn’t until 1944 that Heathrow was developed into a much larger airport. It was intended for the airport to be a long-distance military aircraft for the Far East, however by the time it was actually completed, World War II was over. The government continued with the expansion and became a civil airport, officially opening on March 25 1946 as London Airport. It was later renamed to Heathrow Airport in 1966.

According to Heathrow Airport, over 67 million passengers travel through the airport annually on services offered by 90 airlines travelling to over 180 destinations in over 90 countries. By the time Heathrow celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006 it had handled around 1.4 billion passengers on over 14 million flights.

Freight services

Heathrow Airport supports flights for passengers as well as cargo, providing a constant flow of takeoffs and landings every single day. Air cargo is one of the most popular forms of goods transportation, making Heathrow an essential port for regular imports and exports to England’s capital city.

Heathrow’s airlines for freight include AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Cathay Pacific Cargo, DHL Aviation, Emirates SkyCargo, Korean Air Cargo, Qatar Airways Cargo and Singapore Airlines Cargo. The freight services cover locations including Delhi, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid, Milan, Stockholm and more.

Rachel Jefferies, Editor, FORWARDER magazine