Heathrow celebrates 75th anniversary

The hub is reflecting on its history by displaying memorabilia from passengers, employees and the public to mark the occasion

Heathrow Airport is celebrating this week, with May 31 marking its 75th anniversary as a commercial airport. To commemorate the event, passengers, colleagues and members of the community have been asked to come forward with any personal stories or memorabilia relating to the hub’s history.

Heathrow Airports
Heathrow began operations as a commercial airport on May 31, 1946. Heathrow Airport

Despite Heathrow facing the toughest year since it opened in 1946, the airport has said that it is using this day as a reminder of how far it has come over the last 75 years. “Heathrow has undergone an incredible transformation, from a once-military airport to a national asset and globally recognised brand,” said John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s CEO. “As we cast our eyes forward to the next 75 years, I look forward to watching Heathrow recover from its worst year to grow from strength to strength, protecting the benefits of aviation for future generations to come.” 

Heathrow Airports
Photo: Heathrow Airport

The airport has been part of many memorable moments in history, including Her Majesty the Queen landing in the UK for the first time as a reigning monarch, as well as the arrival of ESA astronaut Tim Peake, following his sixth-month voyage to the International space station.  

An array of memorabilia has been collected to mark the occasion, such as imagery from the Prince of Wales and Princess Diana’s opening of Terminal 4 in 1986, in addition to the records of the first-ever Airbus A380 touching down at the site.  

Airbus A380
The Airbus A380 landed at the hub for the first time on May 18, 2006. Heathrow Airport

Keith Bollands, Heathrow Historian, says that taking his first flight from the London base sparked a “life-long interest in aviation”.  

He added: “From then, to visiting the roof gardens of the Queens Building in the school holidays, to my role in the Security Team at Heathrow, the airport has played a significant part in my life. I’m so pleased to see just some of my memories of visiting, travelling through and working at such an iconic location reflected in the archive.” 

Despite the challenges faced throughout the course of the pandemic, the airport has said that it has drawn from its seven decades of experience to continue with its operations.