London Heathrow Airport
Located to the west of London, Heathrow on a site of 4.6 Sq Miles is the largest UK airport and the biggest in Europe in terms of passenger numbers. With two east-west runways the airport directly employs 76,000 people with a further 116,000 indirectly employed in the immediate area.
There are four terminals with the main British Airways hub operating out of terminal 5. Terminal 2,3 & 4 mostly operate international traffic although domestic routes to Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and other locations are also serviced.
The airport is owned and operated by BAA, the with the terminals very well provisioned for restaurants and shopping. At times Heathrow feels like a shopping complex that airplanes happen to land at, rather than an airport with shops.
Airport hotels and parking are mostly located to the north of the airport around the M4 and A4 Bath road locations, with the Hoppa Bus service running through this area.
Road access to the airport is via the M4 or M25. National Express and others service the airport from around the country, there are also shuttle services to London Gatwick.
Heathrow is connected to central London through the underground rail system and via the Heathrow Express train service. The underground extends to connect all terminals, and whilst travelling away from the airport is charged travelling between terminals is free of charge.
London Gatwick Airport
Situated just north of Crawley and around 29 miles south of London, Gatwick airport is the second largest in the UK with in excess of 33 million passengers per year. With only one main runway its aircraft movements and slots are limited to its current capacity.
Gatwick serves as a base for many charter airlines and also for scheduled domestic and international services. Virgin Atlantic and British Airways use Gatwick for their popular scheduled services to Orlando Florida.
The airport can be accessed from the M23 motorway or via rail from the adjoining station. High speed connections to London are provided by the Gatwick Express railway link.
The airport comprises two terminals, North and South, with a connecting monorail. The terminals have huge selection of restaurants and shops.
Hotel and parking facilities are located around the airport, local villages and Crawley town center. With the Sofitel Hotel directly connected to the terminal buildings.
Manchester airport is after Heathrow and Gatwick the third busiest in the UK and the only other operating two 3000M runways. The airport is owned and operated by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) on behalf of the ten metropolitan borough councils.
Manchester Airport offers both international and domestic flights to over 190 destinations and is the hub for a number of North American carriers and UK based charter airlines. Virgin Atlantic offers scheduled flights to North America and other destinations. The airport comprises three terminals all of which are linked by the Skylink travelator system.
The airport can be accessed from the M56 motorway and the Manchester Airport railway station.