30 years at ‘fantasy island’ terminal
Worker proud to be part of airport’s history
IT has been three decades since a fourth terminal was opened at Heathrow Airport.
On April 1, 1986 His Royal Highness Prince Charles and Princess Diana opened the £200 million building in response to a boom in demand for air travel, with the first passengers welcomed on April 12, 1986.
For more than 20 years it was primarily used by British Airways before they moved to Terminal 5 in 2008, and now houses the SkyTeam airline alliance group which includes 35 airlines.
Among those celebrating the terminal’s 30th was Ray Stanley from Woking, who has been part of the team at the terminal since it opened. He said: “I originally worked for a company called Field Aircraft Services which was located on the site where the terminal is today. We saw those buildings get knocked down and Terminal 4 pop up in its place.
“A whole load of us started working in the new building in February 1986 and we were here when it was opened by Princess Diana.
“The terminal used to have the nickname fantasy island because we were located out on our own, but gradually other parts of the airport have grown up around us.”
Mr Stanley originally worked in security before moving onto engineering.
“It is an honour to have been part of the team here at Heathrow for the past 31 years,” he said. “There are not many jobs like this where you get to meet such a diverse range of people and have to deal with a variety of issues on a day to day basis.
“I have made some fantastic friends here and when you look at how Heathrow has developed over the years into the airport that it is today, I am very proud to have been part of it.”
Terminal 4 was given a £100m facelift in 2009 to improve facilities for a growing number of passengers, and last year handled 53,357 flights and 9.2m passengers. Over the years it has welcomed celebrities and royalty and was part of the host airport for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
It is connected to the London Underground, Piccadilly Line and passengers who use the Heathrow Express to Terminals 2 and 3 can jump aboard a free train service to Terminal 4.
This year also marks the 70th anniversary of Heathrow, with celebrations in May.
■ LONG SERVICE: Ray Stanley from Woking has worked at Terminal 4 since it was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales 30 years ago