Heathrow’s Terminal 2 opens after six-years in the making

Aer Lingus flights will begin using new terminal at the London airport in early July

Passengers arrive at the new Terminal 2, the Queen’s Terminal, at Heathrow on it’s first day of operation. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

Passengers arrive at the new Terminal 2, the Queen’s Terminal, at Heathrow on it’s first day of operation. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

Wed, Jun 4, 2014, 12:43

London Heathrow’s Terminal 2, which will take Aer Lingus flights from early July, opened today following a six-year build that has been compared to carrying out open-heart surgery on a moving patient.

A United Airlines’ flight from Chicago was the first to use the new terminal, built by Laing O’Rourke and Ferrovial, shortly before 6am.

Named officially as The Queen’s Terminal, it will be brought to full capacity by the end of the year - drawing on the lessons learned from the chaos which afflicted the opening of Terminal 5 six years ago.

So far, the first hours of operation have gone smoothly, though the Heathrow Express - the fast train service from Heathrow to Paddington - is operating a reduced service due to staff action over working conditions.

More than 180 trial-runs, some involving 3,000 volunteers, were carried out over recent weeks to ensure that last-minute hiccups were kept to a minimum.

Aer Lingus will transfer from Terminal 1 in early July, ending the much-disliked “long walk” by Irish-bound passengers to the circular departure lounge serving high-number gates at that terminal.

Chef Heston Blumenthal was on hand this morning to mark the opening of his latest restaurant, the Perfectionists’ Cafe - one of 33 shops and restaurants that will operate at T2.

Passengers want “to get to an airport quickly, to get through security quickly, to their plane and then to leave it quickly,” Heathrow executive Max Vialou-Clark told The Irish Times.

“This terminal alone will serve 20 million people a year when it is running at full capacity: that means that it is smaller than Manchester and bigger than Stansted.”

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