If you’ve flown through London Heathrow recently you couldn’t have failed to notice the progress in the building of Terminal 2, “The Queen’s Terminal”, which opens in three months from today, on 4 June 2014.
The new terminal, the first to open since Terminal 5 in 2008, has been designed by Luis Vidal + Architects.
It will house all Star Alliance member airlines at London Heathrow who are currently split across Terminals 1, 3 and 4. These include United Airlines, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, SAS, Swiss and Air New Zealand.
The terminal will also house non-alliance members Germanwings (a subsidiary of Lufthansa) and Aer Lingus, as well as Virgin Atlantic’s domestic “Little Red” flights to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Like Terminal 5, public art will feature prominently in the terminal. The consultancy FutureCity has commissioned sculptor Richard Wilson MBA to produce a 70m long sculpture “Slipstream” which will be officially unveiled on 23 April.
Of course, this being Heathrow, significant attention has been given to the retail offer in the terminal. The full list of retailers has been published. As well as the standard UK airport fare, two noteworthy tenants are John Lewis and the “Perfectionist’s Cafe” by Heston Blumenthal.
One particular point of interest is that there will be a paid for access Plaza Premium Lounge for passengers who do not have lounge access by virtue of their ticket type or frequent flyer status. The lack of such a lounge in Terminal 5 is a regular comment we hear.
We also understand that Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines will have their own lounges for eligible passengers.
Clearly, lessons have been learned from the opening of Terminal 5 in 2008 and the disastrous decision by BA to move its entire short-haul operation into the terminal from day one of operation. The move of airlines will take place in phases over six months. United Airlines will be the first airline to move into the new terminal on 4 June 2014. Air Canada, ANA and Air China will follow on 16 June 2014.
As a consequence of the move, Terminal 1 is expected to close in 2016. British Airways will consolidate its operations that are currently across Terminals 1, 3 and 5, into Terminals 3 and 5 in 2015.