Some possible changes at Heathrow, to persuade ever more passengers…

Some possible changes at Heathrow, to persuade ever more passengers…

People already badly affected by Heathrow are concerned about what might happen, with new Saudi ownership, after Ferrovial. The Saudi-backed consortium is poised to seize control of the airport, but it is far from a done deal. However, plans are already underway that could have ramifications for those living nearby.  According to sources close to the bid, they have a multi-pronged strategy to broadly increase the number of passengers, even without — for the foreseeable future, at least — the construction of a third runway.  Updating Heathrow’s technology is key in the strategy, with things like scrapping airline-specific check-in desks. There could be an App to get passengers to the shortest queue to drop off their luggage. Luggage tags could also be scrapped in favour of computer chips or QR codes linked to passenger booking information. And other changes. The thinking is that if the new owners can improve life for passengers, making it less stressful and decreasing waiting times, airlines will be able to persuade more people to fly. And more passengers mean more revenue for Heathrow, which currently gets £26.77 per person from its airline customers. . Tweet How new Saudi owners plan to transform Heathrow New investors are eyeing whizzy new technology and revamped terminals — but what about the third runway and will the sky get even noisier over west London? By Oliver Gill  (The Sunday Times) January 20 2024 The village of Englefield Green, Surrey, lays claim to have hosted the last fatal duel in England, when Emmanuel Barthélemy killed fellow French refugee Constant Cournet in a row over Barthélemy’s girlfriend in 1852. Some 172 years later and locals in the leafy enclave are in the middle of an altogether different battle. Like many other villages that sit under Heathrow’s flight path, Englefield Green residents are up in arms with the airport. Campaigners successfully fought off the building of a third runway on noise pollution grounds, but passenger numbers have nearly doubled since Bob McLellan moved his family there in 1996, with low-flying planes now coming over every few minutes at peak times. Locals meet monthly to air their grievances in the parish hall, so that they can be shared with Heathrow bosses. Not that it seems to help. “It’s like talking to a brick wall,” said McLellan. Corporate events at Heathrow are now set to give rise to further concerns for the Englefield Green Action Group and others, as a Saudi-backed consortium is poised to seize control of the airport. It is far from a done deal, but plans are already underway that could have ramifications for those living nearby. So what could the Heathrow of the future look like if the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) and French airports investor Ardian gain control? According to sources close to the bid, the team have a multi-pronged strategy to broadly increase the number of passengers, even without — for the foreseeable future, at least — the construction of a third runway. Updating Heathrow’s technology is a key plank in the strategy, with a key idea being to scrap airline-specific check-in desks. Instead of, say, British Airways customers having to find their way to the BA bag drop area and endure the queues when the airline is particularly busy, they would be able to leave their bags at any drop-off point on the departures concourse. “This is all about moving large numbers of people through an airport as efficiently as possible,” said one source. A queue-management app loaded onto every passenger’s phone could direct them to the quickest places to drop their bags off and pass through security, taking into account the likely extra time f

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