The story behind Heathrow’s identify change


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    London Heathrow Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    LHR-EGLL

    Nation:
    United Kingdom

    CEO:
    John Holland-Kaye

    Passenger Quantity:
    19,392,178 (2021)

    Runway:
    09L/27R – 3,902m (12,802ft) |09R/27L – 3,660m (1,008ft)

    Terminal:
    Terminal 2 | Terminal 3 | Terminal 4 | Terminal 5

London Heathrow, Britain’s busiest airport, celebrated its seventy fifth anniversary final 12 months. Whereas the ability is a well known hub, not everybody is aware of that Heathrow Airport was initially known as ‘London Airport’ earlier than adopting its present identify in 1966. So what precisely was the rationale for the renaming of London airport? Let’s discover this query.

A Transient Historical past of London Airport

Whereas London Heathrow Airport (LHR) was formally established as London Airport in 1946, its origins lengthen even additional. Certainly, earlier than the beginning of World Battle II, the location of Heathrow was house to a non-public airfield. The ability opened in 1929, and was operated by UK plane producer Fairy Aviation.

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Generally known as the Nice West Aerodrome on the time, the airfield was positioned on the outskirts of London close to a village referred to as ‘Heath Row’. This small settlement was fully demolished in 1944 to make room for growth work. The identify of the village is recorded as ‘La Hthre’ in historic paperwork from the fifteenth century.

After World Battle II ended, the ability started working its first business flights beneath the identify London Airport in 1946. It expanded quickly and shortly started dealing with tens of millions of passengers every year by the Sixties.

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London’s predominant airport on the time was Croydon, which was not appropriate for post-war plane. It additionally lacked growth functionality. London Airport was thus set to turn into the capital’s major airport, and by 1969 vital growth was undertaken, together with three new terminals. So what was causing altering its identify?

Gatwick Airport arrived on the scene

With air journey changing into extra accessible to on a regular basis individuals after World Battle II, London wanted to develop to take care of its aviation capabilities. This led to the reopening of a newly renovated Gatwick Airport in 1958, with Queen Elizabeth II in ceremonial presence. The characteristic quickly attracted many main airways.

As Gatwick rose to prominence, it grew to become more and more clear that ‘London Airport’ wanted a much less generic identify. This can assist differentiate it from its counterpart within the south. Named after the village on which it was constructed, London Airport grew to become Heathrow Airport in 1966. The present location of Terminal 3 is alleged to be closest to the centuries-old settlement of Heath Row.


Heathrow Airport will attain about 65% of its pre-pandemic capability by 2022. Photograph: Getty Photographs

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The airport virtually took on a special identify

Because it occurs, the transition to ‘Heathrow’ was not the one identify change on the desk. Certainly, the airport was reportedly named after Lord Swinton, the Minister of Civil Aviation, roughly ‘Swintonfield’. A significant concern amongst officers on the time was that overseas guests and employees would have bother saying Heathrow.

Nonetheless, the identify caught regardless of these considerations. Within the Nineteen Nineties, there was discuss of renaming the airport once more, this time after an essential British historic determine, Sir Winston Churchill. In line with the data of the Nationwide Archives, the thought was mooted by Prime Minister John Main in 1996. Nonetheless, this by no means took off, and the LHR has now spent greater than half a century working beneath its present identify.

Have you learnt about Heathrow Airport? Do you assume it ought to be modified once more sooner or later? Tell us your ideas within the feedback.



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