London Heathrow Airport

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London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow (IATA: LHRICAO: EGLL), in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the largest airport in the United Kingdom. It is the second busiest airport in the world (in 2010 it was fourth-busiest due to reduced traffic blamed on the Eyjafjallajökull volcano) in terms of total passenger traffic and it handles more international passengers than any other airport in the world. It is also the busiest airport in the European Union in terms of passenger traffic and the second busiest in Europe in terms of traffic movements, second to Paris CDG airport in Paris, France.[3] According to the Geneva, Switzerland-based Airports Council International, London's Heathrow airport was the world's busiest with 40 million passengers in the eight months period of 2010, followed by Paris and Hongkong.[4]

The airport is owned and operated by BAA, who also own and operate five other UK airports.[5] BAA is owned by ADI Limited, an international consortium led by the Spanish Ferrovial Group, which also includes Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and GIC Special Investments.[6] Heathrow is a primary hub for BMI and British Airways, and is a base for Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Heathrow is 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) west[1] of Central London, and has two parallel main runways spanning east-to-west and four operational terminals. The site covers 12.14 square kilometres (4.69 sq mi). Terminal 5 was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 14 March 2008 and opened to passengers on 27 March 2008. Construction of a new Terminal 2 complex to replace the terminal building and adjacent Queen's Building began in 2009; the first phase is expected to open in 2014.[7] Terminals 3 and 4 underwent major refurbishments that began in 2007 and were completed in 2009. In November 2007 a consultation process began for the building of a new third runway and a sixth terminal and it was controversially[8] approved on 15 January 2009 by UK Government ministers.[9] The project was then cancelled on 12 May 2010 by the Cameron Government.[10]

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