Why do the Roads at London’s Heathrow Airport have strange names?

If you have ever driven around Heathrow Airport in London, you may have noticed that the road names have an interesting pattern.

Roads in the central area – such as Croydon Road, Cambourne Crescent all begin with ‘C’; roads near Terminal 5 – such as Walrus Road, Wayfarer Road all begin with ‘W’; roads near Terminal 4 – Stratford Road, Salisbury Road all begin with ‘S’, while roads to the north of the terminals all begin with ‘N’ and roads to the East all begin with ‘E’.lhr-centrallhr-west

An obvious pattern when you see it – the reason being that Heathrow has five Rendezvous Points – RVPs – central, east, west, north, and south.  If a plane were to come down on Wayfarer Road, the emergency services would immediately be sent to RVP West.  You can see the importance of the RVP system in the following fascinating ATC video from the British Airways crash on runway 27L – and the air traffic controller declaring ‘the Rendezvous point is SOUTH’ just after the 1 minute mark.

rvp

You may have seen the green RVP (N/E/S/W/C) signs near UK airports.  And that’s what they are for.

What proportion of an airline ticket is made up of the cost of the aeroplane?

aiga-40_departingflightsAircraft aren’t cheap.  Neither are airline tickets.  But how much of that airline ticket is made up of the cost of the aeroplane?

If we assume a relatively efficient modern airliner, say a 777, a 30-year lifetime, 3500 hours per year, and an average speed of 500mph, that produces a  total distance of 52,500,000 miles.  Which is quite a lot.

If you were to knock on Boeing’s door, they could sell you one for $320 million.  Volume discounts are, I am told, available.

So, assuming straight line depreciation, along with many, many other assumptions, that’s $6.10 per mile.  At 350 or so passengers, that is around

2 cents per mile

Or, for a 3000 mile (transcontinental or transoceanic) flight, a total of sixty dollars.  Which is perhaps more than I expected.