Smooth start for new Heathrow Terminal 2

But the real test for operations is yet to come

Over 4,000 passengers experienced the new purpose-built Terminal 2 in Heathrow in its first eight hours of operation yesterday, marking a smooth start to operations in the €3 billion facility that will house all 23 Star Alliance airlines serving the major UK hub. The real test for operations will come later, however, as more airlines come to use the terminal.

The airport did all it could to avoid the embarrassing glitches that surrounded the opening of Terminal 5 in March 2008, filling T2 in phases. United Airlines moved all its Heathrow flights and operations there on opening day, while the other airlines – including SAS, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, etc. – will move in over the coming six months.

By 12:40 local time, more than 1,800 departing passengers had travelled through the terminal and more than 2,400 passengers had flown in via the new terminal. Around 2,000 bags were checked in and 2,300 delivered to the baggage claim belt for collection.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive-in-waiting at Heathrow who oversaw the development of T2, said: “It’s a very sensible thing to do to start with a phased rollout. They’re big airlines. These are the lessons we took from T5.”

Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab said: “We have experienced a good start to the day in this brand new facility. We are pleased to see the delighted faces of customers enjoying this new travel experience.”

The Guardian

[pictured: The new terminal’s roof shape; photo courtesy Heathrow Airport]

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