Lighting Industry, News

The £4bn airport terminal with no way of changing its lights

High-level rope access technicians are to be brought into the airport to install LED lamps, after managers admitted there was no other way to access the light fittings in Terminal 5, reports news website Exaro.

Since the £4bn terminal opened in 2008, around 60 per cent of the existing lamps have failed, but an internal email sent by Heathrow’s head of customer services, Vicki O’Brien, and obtained by Exaro, said that Heathrow had been unable to find a way of changing them.

She wrote: ‘The reason for the poor light [in Terminal 5] is that 60 per cent of the existing downlighters above the departures concourse have failed, and until recently Heathrow had no viable way to replacing them.

‘Since T5 was opened in March ‘08, there have always been challenges for Heathrow with replacing blown light bulbs. Various things have been investigated in the past five years (e.g. gondolas and high-level cherry pickers), but for a number of reasons, none of these was practical or safe.

‘The good news is that Heathrow has now identified a safe and robust way to replace all of the light bulbs, and this is high-level rope work carried out by a specialist company.’

A Heathrow spokesperson told Lux: ‘The current lighting on the Terminal 5 concourse is being replaced with environmentally friendly LED bulbs that will last for up to five years. Contingency lighting has been used on the concourse while a viable and safe solution of replacing the lights was being agreed.’

The airport is also planning to replace task lights following complaints from staff that existing lights are not bright enough to see paperwork on desks, according to Exaro.