Heathrow Airport is the world's busiest International airport with approximately 67 million passengers a year passing through it.
A total of 6 million passengers a year use the passenger transit service between all terminals and it is recognised as a critical part of the airport operation. NSL had been operating the contract to supply the Inter Terminal Operation (ITO) service since April 2006 - 365 days a year between the hours of 0500-2300.
However in March 2008 BAA faced a new challenge with the opening of Terminal 5
Upon winning the contract to operate the ITO service NSL had already successfully managed an up scaling of the operation and the introduction of a new bus fleet. The opening of the new Terminal 5, however, meant an increase of 90 drivers, new route modelling and inter terminal timing changes.
Any new services had to meet BAA's stringent Key Performance Indicators, with bus frequency set at every eight minutes and a maximum three minute dwell time. Other standards included the presentation of staff and the bus cleanliness both inside and out. These would be monitored by BAA's Flight Connection Team.
Preparations for the opening of T5 were meticulous and we regularly met with BAA to review terminal plans and our operational areas, modelling service and timing requirements and subsequently trialling the routes and services when T5 became available for contractor trials.
The staffing requirement of an increase to 90 drivers meant that the selection, referencing and training of these drivers was going to be a major challenge for us. NSL took the necessary time to train a very diverse workforce following strict employment and referencing protocols in the highly regulated airport environment, and licensing the new staff to ensure they could all deliver the very high standard BAA demanded.
We worked closely with the Airside Roads Team at Heathrow, who manage the airside roads system and the licensing of both vehicles and drivers, to ensure a seamless transition on the day of the T5 terminal opening.
This included agreeing diversion routes for when the regular routes are unavailable, a regular occurrence due to the sheer volume and variety of traffic using them and the limitations of the road system itself.
On Day One when Terminal 5 opened the Inter Terminal Operation worked very smoothly. Results, monitored by BAA, showed that we had met or exceeded all of the key performance indicators, and this has continued throughout the ongoing operation of T5.
NSL continue to work flexibly with BAA and have supplied on demand services to BAA throughout the span of the contract including the off-pier transfer (aircraft side to terminal) of flights for United Airlines and Air New Zealand during the airline switching programme. (Airlines moving base from one terminal to another)
As a major transport hub Heathrow is subject to security and fire alerts and NSL also assist in managing the transfer service when passengers are evacuated from terminals or unable to enter terminals due to alerts.
If you would like to discuss how passenger transport could benefit your organisation please contact us