London‘s major airport, Heathrow, has some astonishing facts and figures. It’s hard to believe the enormous size of the airport and team that works there, as well as the colossal amount of people that pass through their doors every single day!
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When you’re flying from Heathrow, the world is your oyster. The airport has come a long way since 1949, when it consisted of a tent with only 18 destinations. New Years Eve was celebrated with the first flight taking off – the plane flew from Heathrow to Buenos Aires via Lisbon.
Today you can get to 180 destinations across 85 countries on one of 82 airlines, according to the Heathrow Airport Operations Manual. Whether you want to pop over to Bali, Las Vegas or Phuket, this airport can be your starting point for anyone based in the U.K.. The most popular destinations are an eclectic mix: New York is the most popular, followed by Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.
Last year a plane took off every 45 seconds every single day! This adds up to a staggering 1,286 daily take-offs and 469,552 throughout the year.
When you are sitting on one of those planes, it’s difficult to imagine to work that goes into making your flight comfortable. Each Airbus A380 plane has to be stocked with 35,000 individual items – from teaspoons and teabags, to pillows and hand towels.
The planes also carry a massive amount of luggage. According to the Operations Manual, about 1.3 million tonnes of luggage and cargo is carried every year. You could make a small mountain out of suitcases with that amount!
The amount of people that fly in and out of the airport everyday is larger than the population of some cities. There is a daily average of 191,200 people, and last year, in the busiest year ever recorded, 72.3 million people flew in and out of Heathrow. In comparison, Australia’s entire population is 23 million!
There are some intriguing and inconceivable facts about the airport and food. Of the thousands that pass through every day, many stop to enjoy a meal, and often they don’t hesitate to indulge. UK’s Daily Mail stated travellers are consuming staggering amounts of luxurious and gourmet food at the airport.
Heathrow visitors eat a lot of seafood. Every year, they eat 1.5 tonnes of caviar, 240,000 oysters, 250,000 pieces of sushi and 25,000 kilograms of salmon, topped off with 400,000 lemons for garnishes. A small army could enjoy this opulent feast.
Travellers are also fans of the classics such as steak (630,000 portions eaten every year) and breakfast. Fancy some bacon and eggs? The Heathrow visitors do. Every year they chew through 5 million eggs, 4.5 million rashers of bacon and 6.4 million croissants.
Their meals were topped off with a sip or two of bubbly – a whopping 800,000 flutes of Champagne were drunk last year, according to the Daily Mail.
In order to accommodate the massive amounts of people, planes and luggage, it’s no surprise that the airport is absolutely huge! It covers a whopping 1,227 hectares in total – the southern and northern runways stretch far into the horizon at 3,658 and 3,902 miles long.
And it’s only going to get bigger and better. Since 2003, 11 billion dollars has been spent on upgrading the five terminals and on 4 June this year, a new addition is being unveiled; Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal.
Making sure everything is running smoothly takes a team about the size of a small city. Every person is vital in this huge and complex operation. The airport hires about 76,000 people who all work together so travellers can get where they need to go.
It’s fascinating to think about the precision with which all of these elements work seamlessly together to get the tremendous amount of people jet-setting around the world – whether they’re leaving the nest for a new job, studying abroad, or on their way to bask in the sunny shores of a foreign land.