Airport News

Airport News

London Heathrow Airport's unique pod system is set to pass the 500,000 passenger mark before the end of the year.

The system, which uses the driverless pods, to transport passengers between Heathrow’s mid-stay business car park and Terminal 5, has been in operation at the airport for around 18 months.

Heathrow is now set to increase the size of the car park and introduce more pods, because of demand for the system from passengers.

The system was developed and is run by Ultra PRT (personal rapid transport), and BAA is a major shareholder in the company.

Ultra’s managing director, Fraser Brown, said: “Things are going well, with interest increasing at a number of airports and cities across the world.

“Our 500,000th passengers coming up shortly in mid-December and a UK transport minister is coming to celebrate this.

“The expansion at Heathrow is a good example of how flexible the system is as it can easily be adapted to cope with higher demand.”

Amsterdam Schiphol and Stockholm Arlanda have also expressed an interest in the pods.

Brown added: “We are continuing to look for opportunities at airports worldwide. Airports such as Taoyuan, in Taiwan, and Singapore Changi have expressed an interest in evaluating the pods as part of their airport development and expansion.”

The pods use a laser system to steer passengers along lightweight, raised pathways between the airport and the car park. The tracks are lightweight and can be installed around existing infrastructure.

There is 4km of track at Heathrow and the airport is considering whether to extend the network to Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

Travelling at 25 miles per hour, the vehicles run on four standard car batteries. The system costs between $4.5 million and $7.5 million per km to install.