BAA yesterday announced a new proposal which would involve tearing down Heathrow Terminal 2 and the adjacent Queen's Building and replacing it with a state-of-the-art and much enlarged terminal building of the quality and size
expected when the ?4.2bn ($7.5bn) Heathrow Terminal 5 opens in March 2008.
Heathrow Terminal 2 is the oldest of the four existing Heathrow Terminals, having opened in 1955. A spokesman for Heathrow Airport's press office told The Business yesterday: ‘Today we have made an announcement about a project we are calling Heathrow East and it is only a proposal and it is in the very early stages at the moment.
‘But if it does happen then it would involve replacing Terminal 2 and also the adjacent Queen's Building with an equivalent to a Terminal 5-sized complex which would fit in that space. So it would basically give passengers who are flying with other airlines the experience of Terminal 5.’
Any T5 like-sized replacement building for T2 would be likely to carry a similar amount of retail space at around 22,0000sq m as will T5. Terminal 2 currently features around 15 landside retail and four food and beverage outlets, with a further 22 retail and five food and beverage outlets on the airside.
According to a BAA statement the new terminal would be able to handle up to 30m passengers and the location would mean minimal disruption to current day-to-day operations. Following today's announcement, BAA intends to discuss the idea formally with airlines to assess the viability of the project.
The project would also be dependent on regulatory support from the Civil Aviation Authority. BAA adds that the early indications are that an incremental net cost of ?1bn to ?1.5bn ($1.7bn to $2.6bn) would be required to deliver this proposal, but it emphasises that these estimates depend on timing and the airlines' requirements.
BAA said: ‘The idea, called Heathrow East, would create a new terminal to match the main Terminal 5 building in terms of scale and ambiance and equal or surpass it in terms of form and function.Passengers would benefit from contemporary design and planning, including an enhanced retail experience, while the new building would help Heathrow meet its targets for lower energy use.
‘If the proposal were to receive the go-ahead, it would also allow BAA further options for the closure or redevelopment of Terminal 1 and the space it occupies. The plan does not involve any net increase in passenger capacity.
‘The combination of Terminal 5, Heathrow East and planned modifications and renovations to Terminals 3 and 4 would result in a transformed Heathrow, with unrivalled global connections, quicker and simpler transit, and convenient public transport links.’
BAA says that the extra capacity provided when Heathrow Terminal 5 opens will leave Terminal 2 under utilised for a few years as traffic spreads over the other three terminals. It says this offers a one off window of opportunity to replace T2 with a brand new terminal with the minimum of disruption to passenger flows.
In essence, BAA wants to build a terminal which will be able to handle 30m passengers a year and sees this as an opportunity to bring the quality of its facilities in an ageing terminal up to the standard that will be set by Terminal 5.
Mick Temple, Managing Director Of Heathrow Airport told reporters yesterday: ‘This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to really renovate in a way that my predecessors and many people have been saying they would like to find a way to do. We?ve always wanted to do this, but we have never been able to see a way. I think we can now see the way to do that.’
General reaction to the proposal has been mixed and opponents of any development at Heathrow are already positioning themselves to see if there are any compromise advantages to be had in return for not objecting.
But BAA will hope that common sense will prevail, since all it is proposing is the replacement of an existing old facility with a new facility in virtually the same space. If the various regulatory authorities agree, then BAA hopes to be able to open the new terminal in time for the Olympic Games in 2012.