ITV has concluded the second series of Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport with average of more than 3.2 million viewer on each episode – a greater success compare to the series one’s average 2.5 million viewers! Filmed over seven months, the series follows Heathrow’s army of 76,000 staff – from baggage handlers to air traffic controllers – as they attempt to safely process 200,000 passengers every single day, and race to get thousands of planes away on time.
- Opening the show was a look at a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight from check-in to take-off with many viewers surprised to learn of their 50kg baggage allowance – and left wondering what people were packing!
- With one male passenger not boarding in time, the entire flight had to be delayed to remove their baggage from the flight before it finally departed. While the passenger eventually arrived, the delay had already cost the airline thousands in fines to the company that manages airport slots (not Heathrow).
- NATS Air Traffic Controller Gavin was next up explaining the unique challenges Heathrow presents as the busiest two-runway in the world and how his job requires a unique skillset.
- Heathrow’s engineers were then on the march to keep things moving in Terminal 2 following difficulties with security lane equipment.
- Fog and how it affects operations at Heathrow featured as the next topic with rising Heathrow stars Passenger Services Manager Callum Riseley and Airfield Safety Officer Chris Simpson explaining the challenges in each of their areas posed by bad weather.
- Next up was the cute, the cuddly, and the furry animals of the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre! Animal Welfare Officer Vicky Howell helped reunite a female passenger with her two beloved pet dogs in the first big “awww” moment of the series while also explaining the Centre’s role.
- While many are more concerned about ensuring their passport and tickets are on their possession for a flight…less are concerned about the contents of their toolbox! The moment Experienced Terminal 4 security guard Shahid Saleem came across a male passenger who has packed a hammer and power drill in his carry-on luggage set Twitter alight.
- Last but not least, veteran WFS cargo handler “Mick the Hat” as the documentary looked at the often untold story of Heathrow – cargo. The airport is the UK’s busiest port by value with over £100bn of goods travelling via Heathrow each year – more than Felixstowe and Southampton combined. Mick and the WFS team help transport a rare British racing car while listing the wide variety of items they see transported through Heathrow! As an example, over 50,000 tonnes of salmon are shipped out from Heathrow each year!
- In episode two, an American airline has one of its busiest days as hundreds of passengers fly to the USA for Thanksgiving. However, before the passengers can board the flight, engineers are in the process of completing the world’s most expensive nose job as they attempt to replace the nose of an aircraft.
- Heathrow employee Sunita is faced with a troubled passenger after her two-year old daughter disappears in the terminal. Similarly, security staff work with another upset passenger who is late for his flight but are obliged to conduct an extensive search after suspicions arise.
- The ground staff use measures to disperse birds from the runway to prevent any collisions with an aircraft, which can have serious consequences. Resident paramedic Izzy treats a pregnant passenger suffering from serious abdominal pain who is due to fly to Brazil that day.
- British Airways employees prepare for the inaugural flight of their new £185 million aircraft; the Dreamliner. While the pilots test advanced technology, which simulates the upcoming flight, the rest of team feel the pressure to ensure a punctual departure and arrival to Kuala Lumpur.
- The animal reception centre welcomes an extraordinary arrival of over 70 Alpaca. Engineers race against the clock to repair the luggage belt before check-in closes on a busy flight to Bangladesh.
- In episode 3, Storm Imogen causes challenges on the runways and in the terminals for Heathrow staff and airlines. On the airfield, Heathrow’s Airside Operations Manager Simon Newbold is keeping his eyes pealed for any potentially dangerous debris that could cause damage to aircraft.
- In Terminal 4, Passenger Services Manager Sunita again returns to look after dozens of passengers whose flight to Delhi has been cancelled. The experienced Sue Hester features as she helps out a passenger in need in Terminal 2.
- Trainee Engineer Elliot prepares to get his hands dirty as he clears a blocked sewage pit – an essential part of the airport operation that no passenger normally sees.
- Meanwhile, there are emotional reunions in arrivals and staff from the Animal Reception Centre welcome an exotic shipment of feathered friends from Canada.
- Viewers also be introduced to some of Heathrow’s most fanatical fans… plane spotters!
Extra Contents Related to the Show
- VIDEO: How does Heathrow land 650 aircraft each day? Arrivals operations explained…
- Who are NATS? The air traffic control experts…
- What is the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC?)
- The world’s largest airline…. American Airlines
- A closer look at the revolutionary Boeing Dreamliner 787
- Why and how bird scaring takes place at Heathrow Airport…
- Introducing American Airlines new fleet…
- Racing against the clock… what happens during a 50 minute aircraft turnaround with British Airways
- Weather or not to fly… how the weather affects flights at Heathrow
- Profile: Security Officer Shahid
- Profile: Vicky Howell, Animal Welfare Officer
- Profile: Callum Riseley, Passengers Services Officer
- Profile: Meet Sunita our Passenger Experience Manager
- Profile: The cycle paramedics of Heathrow
- Profile: British Airways’ first aircraft ground handler – Anasthasia McCarthy
- Profile: British Airways’ star “Red Cap” Turnaround Manager Allan Butcher
There are five lucky winners will get the chance to go airside, explore the Tarmac, take a trip up the Air Traffic Control Tower, and get to see the airport from unique vantage points.
William Li, 14 June 2016