Published on : Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Travellers waiting to board flights were evacuated onto the apron, while those who had been in the check-in area were ordered to leave the building. The evacuation started taking place around 12.30pm. Passengers who were done with security check followed the staff out of the gate area and on to the apron.
Thirty-five minutes after the alarm first sounded, Heathrow said: “Our teams have investigated and there is no fire in T3 despite the alarm. Passengers will be directed back into the terminal shortly.”
The flights which had already boarded passengers were able to depart, but most of them delayed.
Looking at the management point of view, nobody other than the automated system made any announcement. Many passengers complained about the manner of the evacuation on social media.
Giuseppe Sollazzo, one of the passengers, tweeted: “‘Now you can turn back’. 30 minutes stuck. If this was a test, has definitely proved the point that #Heathrow T3 cannot be safely evacuated.”
However, not all of them were unhappy. Some said that the entire incident was smoothly handled and the staffs were very calm and patient.
The cause of the alarm, however remains unclear. Terminal 3 is second only to Terminal 5 in terms of activity. It handles 50,000 passengers a day flying on a range of airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and some BA flights.
Around 250 flights arrive and depart at the terminal each day. Dozens of flights were delayed while order was restored. British Airways’ departures to Las Vegas and Miami were over an hour behind schedule, while Virgin Atlantic’s flight to San Francisco was 90 minutes late.