Skip to Content
Saved Flights

Your Saved Flights

No Saved Flights

Terminal 3 celebrates 55 years

Heathrow Terminal 3 celebrates 55 years in operation.

Terminal 3 celebrates 55 years
By Heathrow
Heathrow’s oldest Terminal in operation – Terminal 3 – celebrated its 55th year in operation this week! We’ve taken a closer look at the Terminal, once known as the “Oceanic Terminal”, its history, and what lies in store for the future! Enjoy!

On 13 November 1961, the “Oceanic Terminal” opened at London Airport (now known as Heathrow), providing a permanent building for passengers to access long-haul flights from.

Nine years later it was expanded to add a dedicated arrivals building.

At the time, it was only the second Terminal at Heathrow – joining the Europa Terminal, which was opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1955.

The airfield layout was significantly different back in 1961 with all of the Terminal buildings located at the centre of 6 runways that were affectively in a Star of David formation.Airlines operating from the airport at the time included BOAC and Pan American.

Facts about Terminal 3 today:

  • Over 15 million passengers travel through Terminal 3 every year, on over 76,000 flights;
  • Pier 20, Terminal 3, was specifically built to serve the revolutionary Airbus A380 which required additional stand space due to its remarkable size. It opened in 2006 alongside the first A380 testing flights at the airport;
  • More than 45% of flights go to non-EU countries;
  • More than 33% of passengers are visiting friends and relatives;
  • Carriers include: Virgin Atlantic, Qantas, American Airlines, Emirates, Delta, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Maroc Air.

Terminal 3 is one of three terminals in our Central Terminal Area. Terminal 1 closed in 2016 after 47 years. The original Terminal 2 was demolished, with a new terminal opened in 2015.

Terminal 3 and Central Terminal Area’s future…

Due to growing passenger numbers, Heathrow’s current proposed masterplan for the future includes the redevelopment of the Central Terminal Area to increase passenger capacity – including the demolition of Terminal 3 and Terminal 1.

Terminal 2 | The Queen’s Terminal will be extended to provide more passenger capacity, while in place of the old Terminal 3 a series of satellite terminals will be constructed.

This new layout will create not only new and improved passenger facilities – but the “toast-rack” layout of the airfield will allow for more efficient movements of aircraft.