1930 to 1939: The airfield was first called Harmondsworth Aerodrome, then The Great West Aerodrome, and sometimes Heathrow Aerodrome. One prewar map labels it “Airport”. 71 years since Heathrow officially became a commercial airport. Built for the military during WWII, the site became London Airport on January 1, 1946, when it was handed over to the UK’s Minister of Civil Aviation by the Air Ministry. Heathrow is owned and operated by BAA Limited, which also owns/operates six other UK airports and is itself owned by an international group led by the Spanish Ferrovial Group. Heathrow is the main hub of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.