Covering five square miles and processing nearly 200,000 passengers each day, Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest airports. In a new live event broadcast over four nights, Dan Snow will spend time at Heathrow’s heart – the air traffic control tower.
Dallas Campbell and Anita Rani will also be airside, granted unparalleled access to get to grips with the extraordinary science, engineering and logistics that make air travel possible.
From air traffic control to airport hangars, the series will follow aircraft from the moment they enter Heathrow’s airspace to the moment they depart. With unprecedented access to the people and processes that make air travel possible, Airport Live will follow the airport as it works against the clock to keep planes on time, passengers moving and manage the impact of constantly changing weather conditions.
Dan Snow says: “Air travel has become an everyday luxury that we take for granted, but behind the scenes it’s a fascinating web of processes all precisely managed to maintain equilibrium.
“Over four nights we’ll get the chance to see how it all works. We’ll take a look at the complex choreography of air traffic control, learn to fly the world’s largest passenger jet, the A380, and discover how weather plays a crucial role in keeping the whole operation running smoothly. Airport Live will be a thrilling journey through the skies and a definitive account of modern air travel.”
Airport Live will mark the most complete exploration of Heathrow’s grounds and skies and will feature a mix of live and pre-recorded footage that will explain how an airport works. BBC Two will go behind the scenes airside; into the heart of the air traffic control tower; onto the tarmac as a plane is turned around for departure; and into the hub of engineering to watch a service on a plane. Everything and everyone is on a deadline and BBC Two will be there to watch this daily race first hand.
Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two, says: “In recent years, BBC Two has enjoyed great success with live events, from Stargazing Live to Volcano Live. Now, in one of our most ambitious broadcasts ever, we’re going behind the scenes at one of the world’s busiest airports. Over four nights, BBC Two will be based at the air traffic control tower, offering a completely unique perspective on how an airport works around the clock.”
Airport Live (4×60) was commissioned by Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two; Charlotte Moore, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries and Acting Controller, BBC One; and Clare Paterson for the BBC. The series will be executive produced by Lisa Ausden for BBC Productions.
BBC Learning Zone will also host a series of short films exploring careers at the airport.