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UK soldiers at Heathrow
UK troops guard Heathrow during a terrorist alert
2000 The Heathrow Terminal 5 planning inquiry submits its recommendations to the DfT.

The number of passengers flying in British airspace is 179,885,000 (DfT) with 64 million using Heathrow - an average of 1,250 flights per day (CAA)

On 28 April a British Airways 747 comes within 110ft of landing on top of a BMI British Midland plane that is taking-off.

The BA flight aborts landing just in time.

The incident happens while an air traffic controller is surpervising a trainee, the subsequent investigation criticises the "inappropriate actions" of the supervisor who is then moved to a less busy air traffic control centre.

2001 The government approves the building of a Terminal 5 at Heathrow on 20 November. The new terminal is expected to cost 2.5bn and will cater for about 30 million passengers a year, using the two existing runways at the airport. It is expected to open in 2007.

The government tells local authorities in four "safety zones" around the airport not to approve any new developments in these areas.

The number of passengers flying in British airspace is 181,231,000 (DfT) with 60.4 million using Heathrow (CAA)

The government sells off 46% of Nats to a private consortium of airlines known as the Airline Group.

2002 Transport Secretary Alistair Darling predicts that air passenger numbers in Britain will double from 180 million a year to 400 million a year by 2020. He unveils a series of proposals to cope with the rising numbers, including a plan to build another runway at Heathrow.

4.6m in foreign cash is stolen as robbers intercept a security van on 11 February. Another van is hijacked in a near identical raid on 19 March, stealing 1.9m in foreign cash. Thieves steal 2.8m worth of computer chips from a cargo centre near Heathrow airport on 7 October.

The new Air Traffic Control Centre in Swanwick is opened - six years late.

2003 450 troops and 1,000 extra police are deployed to Heathrow on 11 February after intelligence agencies receive a warnings of a terrorist plot to launch missiles at aircraft.


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