London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow (IATA: LHR, ICAO: EGLL), in the London Borough of Hounslow, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the fourth busiest airport in the world (as of 2011) in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe. It is also the busiest airport in the European Union by passenger traffic and the second busiest in Europe given the number of traffic movements, with a figure surpassed only by Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport.
The airport is owned and operated by BAA Limited, who also own and operate five other UK airports. BAA is owned by ADI Limited, an international consortium led by the Spanish Ferrovial Group, which also includes Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and GIC Special Investments. Heathrow is a primary hub for BMI and British Airways as well as a base for Virgin Atlantic Airways.
Heathrow lies 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) west of Central London, and has two parallel east-west runways along with four operational terminals on a site that covers 12.14 square kilometres (4.69 sq mi). Terminal 5 was officially dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II on 14 March 2008 and opened to passengers on 27 March 2008. Construction of a new Terminal 2 complex to replace the old terminal building and adjacent Queen's Building began in 2009 with the first phase expected to open in 2014. Terminals 3 and 4 underwent major refurbishments between 2007–2009. In November 2007, a consultation process began for the building of a new third runway and a sixth terminal, which was controversially approved on 15 January 2009 by UK Government ministers. The project was subsequently cancelled on 12 May 2010 by the Cameron Government.
The airport holds a Civil Aviation Authority Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P527), which allows flights for public transportation of passengers or for flying instruction.