Heathrow’s new £2.5bn Terminal 2 will receive its first flights tomorrow, almost 60 years after the original Terminal 2 opened as the airport’s first passenger terminal in 1955.
Heathrow says that it has sought advice from other airports around the world and learned lessons from opening Terminal 5, which was plagued by technical difficulties and consequential delays. According to Heathrow, more than 180 trials have taken place over the last six months involving 14,000 volunteers.
Terminal 2 marks the latest phase of an £11 billion private sector investment that has transformed Heathrow for passengers. This investment includes the construction of Terminal 2A and B, Terminal 5 A, B and C, a new control tower, and the refurbishment of Terminals 3 and 4.
The new Terminal 2 has been named ‘The Queen’s Terminal’ in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The terminal will be honoured with a Royal opening on 23 June when Her Majesty The Queen will visit the airport accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.
United Airlines will be the first airline to move into the terminal and will operate 17 arriving and 17 departing flights for nearly 6,000 passengers on the first day.
Terminal 2 will eventually be home to 26 airlines – 23 members of the Star Alliance as well as Aer Lingus, Germanwings and Virgin Atlantic Little Red. Airlines will move into the new terminal in phases over the next six months. When fully occupied, Terminal 2 will have 332 daily flights to 54 global destinations.
John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Development Director and Chief Executive Designate said: “Terminal 2 is the culmination of an £11bn investment programme that has transformed Heathrow for passengers. Opening a new terminal is one of the most complex challenges that any airport can undertake. Our measure of success is not everything running perfectly on day one – there will inevitably be things we can improve.
“Our real measure of success is whether Terminal 2 comes to be rated by passengers as one of the world’s best airport terminals for years to come. ”
As previously reported, Terminal 2 has a number of world firsts, including an airport debut for British high-street favourite John Lewis. Terminal 2 also welcomes multi-award winning chef Heston Blumenthal with the opening of his newest restaurant, The Perfectionists’ Café.
In total there will be 33 retailers at the new terminal, including British brands such as Cath Kidston and Ted Baker and luxury fashion houses such as Mulberry and Burberry. This will be complemented by 17 food and drink outlets including a Fuller’s pub serving London Pride and The Gorgeous Kitchen – a restaurant created by four local female chefs.
“We recognise that there will inevitably be some teething problems in the first few days,” says the UK hub. “We will be focused on identifying and resolving issues as quickly as possible to deliver a smooth journey for passengers.”
Airlines will move into the new terminal is a series of 11 airline moves over the course of six months. The terminal will operate at just 10% of its total flight volume on the first day.
The new Terminal 2 is also an essential part of Heathrow’s plans for expanding the airport. If Government supports a third runway at Heathrow then Terminal 2 will be extended to become one of two main passenger hubs for the airport. Heathrow East (an extended Terminal 2) and Heathrow West (Terminals 5 and 6) will be the main passenger terminals for a three runway Heathrow.
These terminals and their satellite buildings will be connected by one underground passenger transit and baggage system. The aim is to make Heathrow feel like a single integrated airport, creating simpler journeys for passengers.