Heathrow’s Terminal 2, the replacement for an old terminal demolished in 2009, will commence its operations on 4 July 2014.
The privately funded £2.5bn project is designed to serve 20 million passengers a year and will employ 25,000 staff. It includes not only the terminal building but also a 522m satellite pier, a 1,340-space car park, an energy centre and a cooling station. When fully operational the check-in will accommodate 3,000 passengers an hour and an average of 55,000 passengers will arrive and depart a day. There will be over 50 shops, as well as 17 bars and restaurants
"The new T2 has been designed around the needs of our passengers, to allow them to get to and from their flights as quickly as possible. Like T5, it will promise world-class customer service and a warm welcome to Britain, which visitors expect from the UK's hub airport", said John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow development director. "This next step in Heathrow's transformation will deliver a better journey for passengers, a more efficient and reliable infrastructure for airlines and additional jobs, trade and economic growth for the UK."
The first aircraft scheduled to land on the brand new terminal will be operated by American carrier United Airlines. It is foreseen to touch down at 5.55am on the first day of the terminal’s operations. The facility will serve more than 20 airlines, including Virgin Atlantic.
The Heathrow bosses promised they would have all the measures in place to prevent repeating the complications following the opening of the airport’s Terminal 5 in 2008. After the opening of Terminal 5, thousands of passengers reported missing their luggage and were kept waiting in long queues.
To avoid a similar disaster, Terminal 2 will open in phases, with airlines moving in over a period of six months. Just 10 per cent of flights will operate for the first three weeks of June 2014 before gradually building up to full operations. Prior to the opening, the terminal will be extensively tested during a half-year period. The project is expected to provide overall 35,000 jobs across the UK.
"Infrastructure is quite rightly at the heart of the government’s plans. We're investing more, cutting red tape and improving government capability to deliver major infrastructure projects", Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord Deighton said. "The vast majority of investment and delivery capacity lies in the private sector with projects such as T2, which forms part of the Government's Top 40 priority infrastructure investments."