Park and Go: Heathrow Airport Parking - Airport History

Please find below a brief history of Heathrow Airport which we hope that you will find useful. If you wish to make a booking then please click on the appropriate link on your left. Alternatively you can call our office, where one of our helpful staff will only be happy to help.

Heathrow is the world's busiest international airport. Regarded as the hub of the aviation world, over 90 airlines have made Heathrow their base. It offers a unique shopping environment with a huge range world famous designer brands and familiar high street stores, restaurants and bars, all guaranteeing value for money.

Heathrow Airport started life as The Great Western Aerodrome. It was privately owned by the Fairey Company and being a small grass airfield it was used mainly for test flying. London's commercial flights took off from nearby Heston and Hanworth Park airfields.

  • Number of terminals: 4 (Terminals 1,2,3 & 4)
  • Number of passengers: Over 64 million
  • Number of airlines: Over 90
  • Number of destinations: approximately 170
  • Number of runways: two main plus a cross wind runway

Wartime priorities changed the course of Heathrow's history. In 1944 it was requisitioned by the Air Ministry to be developed as a major transport base for the Royal Air Force. Before the work was completed the war ended and with it came the prospect of a huge expansion in civil aviation.

One runway was already in use when the airport was taken over by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 1946, having had its first passenger flight on 1st January. By the following year, three runways had been completed and work had begun on another three, these were subsequently abandoned and deemed unnecessary.

As traffic boomed at Heathrow Airport it found itself with an ever-increasing demand for passenger facilities. This was partially solved in 1955 when the Queen inaugurated a new building, known today as Terminal 2.

Next came the new Oceanic terminal handling long-haul carriers, a function it still performs as Terminal 3, followed by the opening of Terminal 1 in 1968. Increased congestion in the central area led to the birth of Terminal 4 in 1986 on the south side of the airport.