Document Type



One of the most contentious topics of discussion in Aviation today revolves around what many describe as the “overcrowding” of Heathrow Airport in London. Operating at over 99% capacity between its only 2 runways, Heathrow is the world’s busiest airport, a title which it has had difficulty taking pride in due to its implications (“Airport Capacity in London,” 2013). This has also been an ordeal for passengers navigating through the airport and experiencing the often absurdly long delays as aircraft are kept in holding patterns over the congested airport waiting to land, but also for airlines that have had to pay the airport holding company – Heathrow Airport Holdings – increasingly higher fees to continue operating there (“Company Information,” n.d.). The British government has established a number of commissions, including the more recent Airports Commission in 2012 to attempt to resolve this (“About Us,” 2015). The only option the commission has determined to be viable is to expand Heathrow Airport with the addition of a third runway (Davies et al., 2015). This option has been quite controversial with many parties within London, especially the residents of the communities surrounding the airport. This project will be taking a deep dive into the airport’s rich but troublesome history and consider whether an expansion would really be the most feasible option here or if there are some better options that need to be brought to light. This is a very intricate topic, and this project will emphasize many of the hurdles that have prevented a viable solution from yet being implemented.


Aviation Science

Thesis Comittee

Dr. Michael Welch, Thesis Advisor

Prof. Michael Farley, Committee Member

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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