American Airlines To Join British Airways In Heathrow Terminal 5

American Airlines is set to move its London Heathrow operations to Terminal 5 from Tuesday (July 7th). The move will see the US carrier co-located with two of its oneworld partners, Iberia and British Airways. Recently there has been a lot of movement between terminals at Heathrow Airport, given the massive drop in demand caused by the current pandemic.

American Airlines, Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5
American Airlines is set to move into Terminal 5 with British Airways next week. Photo: Heathrow Airport

British Airways and American Airlines are close partners. However, changing between the two at Heathrow used to entail an airside bus transfer between terminals. This will soon no longer be the case, though, as American Airlines will move into Terminal 5 from next week.

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Quicker, easier connections

There have been plenty of terminal changes at Heathrow recently. Only half of the airport’s terminals are currently open due to the enormous drop in passenger numbers. However, it seems as though Tuesday’s move isn’t prompted by the crisis, but rather to increase the co-operation between British Airways and American Airlines at the former’s home.

It seems as though the current crisis has proved the perfect time for BA’s American neighbors to move in. British Airways is expecting its operations to be quite reduced over the coming years. This will mean that there will be some empty gates at Heathrow for the foreseeable future.

American Airlines, Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5
Connecting between the two partner airlines will be easier than ever at Heathrow. Photo: London Heathrow

In total, four American Airlines services will reposition across to Terminal 5. Each of these services operates daily:

  • Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) – served by a Boeing 777
  • New York (JFK) – Served by a Boeing 777
  • Chicago (ORD) – Served by a Boeing 787
  • Miami (MIA) – Served by a Boeing 777.

Commenting on the news, Rhett Workman, Managing Director Europe & Asia-Pacific at American Airlines said,

“Moving American’s operations to Terminal 5 for the first time will greatly improve the customer travel experience, enabling faster and easier connections by working closely alongside our valued joint business partners.”

Could preclearance be on the way?

In January, Head For Points tabled a theory that American Airlines would leave Terminal 3 and move to Terminal 5. The publication then went on to speculate that Terminal 5C could be used exclusively for United States flights, with both British Airways and American Airlines operating from the satellite terminal.

American Airlines, Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5
Could Terminal 5’s C satellite terminal become a US preclearance hub? Photo: London Heathrow

Head For Points‘ theory was that should this happen, a US Customs and Immigration preclearance facility could be built in the satellite terminal. This would mean that all those flying to the United States with the two carriers would be able to enter the US before departing the United Kingdom technically and could land in the US as domestic passengers. This would give the two a considerable advantage between London and the US, which is one of British Airways’ most important markets.

What do you make of American Airlines’ relocation to Heathrow Terminal 5? Could it prompt a preclearance facility at Heathrow? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!