The main quality indicator in airports is related to security checkpoint queues. To minimise the impact on passengers of increased security measures, BAA has assumed the public, explicit commitment of considerably reducing queues in 2008, so that passengers will not have to wait longer than five minutes at security checkpoints 95% of the time. Until now, our commitment was to a 10 minute maximum wait 90% of the time.

Various measures have been taken to achieve this goal:

  • Queue behaviour control measures have increased considerably to improve planning (to adapt screening devices open to passenger flows) and incident response capacity. The graphs that measure security checkpoint wait times are updated every 15 minutes and available to BAA managers in real time through systems that report on all management areas. A detailed breakdown of wait times in each BAA airport terminal is sent to the members of BAA's Executive Committee at the beginning of each day and a summary is prepared for the Board of Directors every month.

    A significant investment was made on airport security measures. This information can be found in the section on safety in products and services.

The effects of these investments and the efforts made to improve management began to bear fruit during the second semester of 2007. In July and August, when traffic is heaviest at British airports, 97% of all Heathrow passengers spent fewer than ten minutes in security queues. During the same period, 86 % of all passengers in Gatwick waited less than ten minutes at security checkpoints. Considerable improvements in security processes were achieved at Stansted and other airports. 95% of all passengers waited fewer than 5 minutes at security checkpoints between September and December.

The other fundamental quality issues that concern airport passengers aside from queues are:

  • Improvement in lifts and escalators. Close collaboration with maintenance suppliers has enabled Ferrovial to improve the reliability and availability of these facilities in a very short period of time.

  • Improvements in airport cleaning and appearance. Airports received more than £30 million in additional funds for cleaning, repairing and updating its existing facilities in 2007.

Future investments

BAA is committed to investing significant amounts in replacing and renovating airport terminals, particularly at Heathrow and Gatwick, in upcoming years. Part of this investment was used to construct Heathrow's new Terminal 5 building, inaugurated on March 27, 2008. This new terminal boasts the world's most cutting-edge facilities to serve the public in terms of quality, comfort, speed, security and respect for the environment.

Terminal 5 will handle all British Airways flights, which will alleviate current congestion at Heathrow and free up space needed to begin reconstructing and revamping the other airport terminals. Terminals 1 and 2 and the Queens Building will be replaced by Heathrow East, a new terminal that will have a capacity of approximately 30 million passengers a year. Furthermore, BAA will be undertaking a thorough renovation of Terminals 3 and 4. In 2012, 80% of Heathorw infrastructures will be new.

BAA plans to invest £6.5 billion in all over the next ten years in renovating Heathrow's existing facilities. BAA believes this will transform the passenger experience and provide London with a world-class international gateway.

It also has plans to invest £1.2 billion in Gatwick over the next decade to improve passenger conditions and increase capacity to keep pace with the airport's growth.

BAA will be expanding the North Terminal and constructing an additional boarding area for enhanced levels of service. It will also be investing a significant amount on renovating the South Terminal, including the complete reconstruction of the arrivals zone and the confluence of departures, improvements in the baggage system and an integrated transport hub zone.

BAA is expanding the existing terminal at Stansted to provide more space for arrivals. Stansted has requested approval to increase the yearly passenger limit from today's 25 million passengers to 35 million in 2015. This growth will be supported by an approximately £520 million investment in air infrastructure and terminals.

BAA has been transforming its Scottish airports for the past ten years and plans to maintain a sustained level of investment in terminal capacity and international routes.

New Video X-Ray Equipment at Heathrow

New Video X-Ray Equipment at Heathrow

Airport security controls are a necessary evil. In the new Terminal 5, BAA will employ an innovative piece of technology called ATIX, used to scan carry on luggage.