Heathrow Express celebrates 18 years in business

Global business class commute between Central London and Heathrow continues to lead the way on speed, reliability and equality in the workplace

Heathrow Express, one of the world’s quickest leading air-rail links, today (Thursday, 28 July) celebrates 18 years in business.

Heathrow Express turns 18 and throws down the gauntlet to 'Queen of Speed' Victoria Pendleton

Opened in July 1998, the business class airport service remains the fastest way to travel between central London and Heathrow, the UK’s hub airport which in 2015 handled a record 75 million passengers, a 2.2 per cent increase from 2014 .
Offering up to 150 services a day, the 15-minute Heathrow Express service is the preferred fast commute for many of the global workforce travelling via Heathrow and now carries an average of 17,000 passengers a day (and nearly 100 million people to date) to and from the busy capital, which after New York scores second highest on business consultancy A.T. Kearney’s Global Elite ranking thanks to its business activity, human capital and strong cultural experience.
The same report predicts that innovation will continue to drive growth in cities like London, with disruptive technology that attracts and retains entrepreneurs and homegrown talent as key to future growth.
At the age of 18, Heathrow Express therefore remains more relevant than ever for an increasingly global workforce looking to get to and from the centre of town to Heathrow as quickly as possible.
As well as speed, Heathrow Express customers also enjoy excellent reliability compared with other forms of public transport, with 94% of passengers saying in the spring of this year that they were satisfied with Heathrow Express’s reliability. The service also scored highly for overall customer satisfaction, achieving 91% in the same 2016 industry survey.
To celebrate its 18th birthday, Heathrow Express has made its service even more attractive by launching a special reduced fare for customers travelling to and from Heathrow Airport this summer. The promotion starts today (28 July) with return fares reduced from £36 to £25 throughout the summer months.
Director Fraser Brown said: “We always put our customers first, and by reducing our return fares this summer we hope that more repeat and new customers will benefit from the fastest London-Heathrow commute as they head away for summer holidays and work.”
Employing a 490 strong team made up of over 40 different nationalities, the company prides itself as an employer of choice and leads the way on gender equality; 40 per cent of its drivers are women, compared to an industry average of only 4.5 per cent.
With many of the company’s staff themselves 18-year veterans, the journey to date has been anything but dull with colourful tales aplenty.
Duty manager Brian Keenan recalls once resuscitating an unconscious passenger who had “flat-lined” on his journey to the airport, with quick thinking subsequently saving the passenger’s life.
There have also been a number of innovative developments along the way, with Heathrow Express one of the first operators to offer complementary on board WiFi for all passengers, with industry-first technology meaning that this service is available interruption free throughout the journey, even when going through tunnels, a plus for tech savvy and time conscious customers.
Heathrow Express also made London Paddington the first UK train station with flight information display screens, was the first to introduce a mobile e-ticketing app and last year turned on the world’s first live advertising screens.
Brown added: “This special milestone is an opportunity to reflect on our entire team’s dedication to providing a premium and seamless experience whilst also focusing on the innovation that will drive the next 18 years and ensure Heathrow Express continues to be one of world’s quickest leading air-rail links.”
Heathrow Express is celebrating its 18th milestone by challenging Victoria Pendleton, one of the world’s fastest Olympians, to a one-on-one speed race. Heathrow Express turns 18 and throws down the gauntlet to 'Queen of Speed' Victoria Pendleton
As a former British Olympic track cyclist and successful amateur jockey, Pendleton is renowned for her competitive spirit that has proven she is the ‘Queen of Speed’ both on the track and the turf. Today she takes on the asphalt as she attempts to beat the Heathrow Express from London Paddington to Heathrow on board a 600CC limo-bike, currently considered to be one of the fastest ways to get around London.
Having never ridden a motor bike before, Pendleton will travel pillion in today’s sprint to Heathrow, but has promised to leave the riding whip at home despite her determination to beat the train, which at 18 is still the fastest way of getting from Central London to Heathrow.

Heathrow Express turns 18 and throws down the gauntlet to 'Queen of Speed' Victoria Pendleton

The Gold medallist said: “This is such a fantastic challenge and a great way to celebrate a coming of age – 18 years young today, Heathrow Express sets the pace when it comes to travelling in and out of London.
“I am really excited to be involved because while my main focus for the past year has been on horse-racing, I am always up for a challenge with a difference!”

Heathrow Express turns 18 and throws down the gauntlet to 'Queen of Speed' Victoria Pendleton

Sponsored by