Engineering the worlds largest integrated transfer baggage system


In its first major civil project in the UK, the company has completed a 2.1 km baggage tunnel between Heathrows Terminals 5, 3 and 1, while maintaining a truly outstanding safety record: over a million man hours without any reported accidents.

Ferrovial Agroman, in partnership with BAA and Mott MacDonald, has now completed a 2.1km tunnel running between Terminals 5, 3 and 1, a vital link in Heathrow Airports new integrated transfer baggage system to create the largest such system in the world, and one which will greatly enhance the experience of passengers and airline customers.

Since Heathrow is the worlds busiest international hub airport, avoiding disruption to airport operations was paramount. A massive risk management and mitigation process was undertaken with painstaking contingency planning to ensure none of the 268 services and structures at risk from the tunnel was adversely affected.

More than 30 major stakeholders were required to give their approval to the project, including those responsible for assets such as the Heathrow Express and Piccadilly Line tunnels, fuel, gas and water mains, fuel tanks, fibre optics, power cables, aircraft guidance, live stands, taxiways, terminal buildings and bridges. In spite of being deemed 2009s number one risk to Heathrows operations, the tunnel was completed with zero impact on the airport.

Innovative, safe and sustainable

This project is a clear example of the innovation taking place all around the group. No company has ever before attempted construction of an underground link between five live airport terminal buildings. Changes in tunnel alignment also created the need for further innovation. To mitigate risk to the road tunnel which offers the only access to three terminals, the course of the tunnel was modified during the project.

Always one of the most important aspects of a project of this magnitude, the safety record on this construction project has been truly outstanding and signifies a record for Heathrow Airport. There were no reported accidents in over 1,172,430 man hours, which was achieved thanks to a stringent approach towards safety management, strong site controls and continuous improvement in health and safety standards.

All materials removed by construction have been recycled, with the gravel recycled as backfill and 100,000m3 of clay reused as lining for local landfill sites. The transfer baggage system will substantially reduce airside surface traffic, replacing 60,000 vehicle movements and their emissions annually.



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