The airport terminal up for auction


Would you buy an airport terminal up for auction?

We’d imagine that auctioneers see some strange lots pass through their auction houses every so often, but did you hear about the entire airport terminal up for auction?

That’s precisely what’s happened with the contents of London Heathrow’s Terminal 1 this month! One of the world’s busiest airports, Heathrow Airport closed its oldest terminal back in 2015, and last week, held an auction to sell off every last one of its contents.

The terminal was closed to merge with the ever-expanding Terminal 2, so, as a result, airport bosses needed to find new homes for the terminal fixtures and fittings. And what better way than to put the whole airport terminal up for auction?

On April 21, aviation enthusiasts were just some of those who turned up to Terminal 5 to bid on weird and wonderful lots, hoping to make a sound investment in a unique piece of air travel history. So what was up for grabs?

Well, in short – everything. Over 2,000 security cameras, terminal artwork, security scanners, lounge seating, hand baggage gauges, baggage trolleys, directional signs, clocks and even check-in desks featured in the unusual auction lots!

The auction firm in charge of the sale, CA Global Partners, aimed to collect a six-figure sum by the time the final hammer had fallen – so here’s what some of those excited buyers paid for these unique lots:

  • Baggage trolleys: $480 each
  • An illuminated “No Entry” sign: $1,400
  • The Irish Arrivals Passenger Search Table: $190
  • A hand baggage gauge: $765
  • A row of four wooden lounge chairs: $3,780
  • The “Zone A” suspended sign: $1,610
  • A US Airlines check-in desk sign: $735
  • A men’s bathroom sign: $1,330
  • A women’s bathroom sign: $1,400
  • The illuminated “Arrivals” sign: $6,720
  • An oversized clock: $6,650
  • The iconic “Terminal 1” sign: $9,453

And let’s not forget the series of murals painted by Polish artist Stefan Knapp – which sold for an eye-watering $80,000!

The final proceeds of the sales aren’t yet in; there’s still a further auction to take place, where aviation enthusiasts and other businesses can snap up bulkier memorabilia ranging from escalators to baggage carousels.

However, even after CA Global Partners takes its fee, and the UK Government deducts tax, it would appear that the idea to put the airport terminal up for auction will prove to be a very lucrative one for Heathrow Airport. Could it be we see other airports follow suit in the future?

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