Heathrow’s new £2.5 billion terminal will open in exactly one year’s time - June 4, 2014.
Replacing the old Terminal 2 demolished in 2009, the privately-funded terminal T2 will eventually serve 20 million passengers a year after its opening.
Home to 25,000 staff, T2 is part of an overall project that includes not only the terminal building but also a 1,712ft satellite pier, a 1,340-space car park, an energy centre and a cooling station.
The first flight will land at 5.55am on the terminal’s first day and this will be operated by American carrier United Airlines, one of more than 20 airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, that will be using T2.
In 2008, Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 opened and had a disastrous first day, with thousands of passengers’ bags going astray, long queues and problems for staff.
Six years on from the T5 debacle, T2 will open in phases, with airlines moving in over a period of six months. Just 10% of flights will operate for the first three weeks of June 2014 before gradually building up to full operations.
Also there will be six months of testing of T2, involving 14,000 people, before the opening. By the time of the first flight, the new terminal will have supported 35,000 jobs across the UK.
Check-in will be large enough to accommodate 3,000 passengers an hour and an average of 55,000 passengers will arrive and depart a day. There will be more than 50 shops, as well as 17 bars and restaurants.
Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord Deighton said today: “Infrastructure is quite rightly at the heart of Government plans. We’re investing more, cutting red tape and improving Government capability to deliver major infrastructure projects.
“But 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.”
Heathrow development director John Holland-Kaye said: “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.
“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.”