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Focus on… Heathrow airport Terminal 2

New Terminal 2 will transform passenger experience at Heathrow

  • Most passengers will be travelling through new facilities in 2014
  • Most transfer passengers will change aircraft in the same terminal
  • 20 million passengers a year will use the new £2.5bn terminal
  • Terminal to house Star Alliance airlines
  • Facility will use 40% less carbon than the old Terminal 2

Heathrow set its sights on a huge improvement in passenger experience when its new Terminal 2 opens in 2014. The terminal, which will welcome 20 million passengers a year and be the home of the Star Alliance group of airlines, passed a major construction milestone with a 'topping out' ceremony to mark the end of major structural work.

The project is the latest stage in a five-year, £4.8 billion transformation of Heathrow, which began after the opening of the £4.3bn Terminal 5 in 2008.

When the Ferrovial-led consortium bought the company in 2006, Heathrow was rated as one of the worst major airports in Europe, with just 41% of passengers describing their experience at the airport as either 'Excellent' or 'Very Good'. Now, after the opening of Terminal 5 and the refurbishment of Terminals 1, 3 and 4, Heathrow is rated ahead of all but one of its major rivals. 70% of passengers at the airport now rate their experience as 'Excellent' or 'Very Good'.

As well as improved passenger ratings, security queues are shorter, flights are more punctual and baggage systems more reliable. Terminal 2 will improve Heathrow even further for passengers and move Heathrow into pole position among European hubs.

Passengers departing Terminal 2 will find 11,300m² of floor space, accommodating self-service check-in machines, fast-bag drops, traditional check-in desks and 15 security search lanes.

In a two-level departure lounge, ten-metre high windows will provide excellent views of Heathrow's airfield and the nine new aircraft parking stands, a third of which are configured to accommodate a new generation of aircraft such as the A380.

To minimise disruption to passengers, construction is taking place in two phases. The first stage will see the creation of a terminal building with 180,000m² of floor space on the old site of Terminal 2 and Queen's Building. Construction on the first phase is due for completion in 2014.

Phase two is scheduled to run consecutively and will extend the new Terminal 2 into the existing Terminal 1 site. This phase, which also includes the construction of a second satellite building, is set to increase the capacity of Terminal 2 to 30 million passengers a year. Terminal 1 will close when phase two is complete in 2019, however it will remain open throughout construction.

Terminal 2 is one element of a £2.2bn investment on the eastern part of the airport. A satellite pier for the new terminal has been under construction since 2008. It is set to provide Heathrow with 16 additional stands and will be connected via an underground link to the main terminal building.

Luis Vidal + Architects are the concept and lead architects for Terminal 2, collaborating with Foster and Partners during the project phase and Pascall and Watson during fit-out.

Terminal 2 is the UK's largest privately funded construction project. All the investment at Heathrow has been funded without any cost to the taxpayer. Around 35,000 people are expected to work on the project over its lifetime, with as many as 5,000 people on site at its peak.

The new Terminal 2 will also produce significantly less carbon than the buildings it is replacing. Large north-facing windows in the roof will flood the building with natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting without generating uncomfortable levels of heat in the building. Solar panels on the roof will further reduce the dependency on traditional energy supplies. Additionally a new energy centre, partially fuelled by renewably sourced woodchips, will provide heating and cooling for the building.

A short history of Terminal 2

1951 - Construction of Terminal 2 started. The architect was Frederick Gibberd (who also designed the former Heathrow control tower, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and London Central Mosque). The cost for the central terminal area improvements including the road tunnel was £21 million

April 17 1955 - The terminal opened and was officially inaugurated by Her Majesty the Queen on December 16 1955 along with the adjacent Queen’s Building (the former office block, now demolished) and the former control tower. The terminal was named the 'Europa Building'

1957 - The first non-stop flight from Heathrow to California set a new record for distance and time

1961 - The Oceanic Building (now Terminal 3) opened for long haul flights. The Europa Building became home to short haul flights

1964 - The Beatles famously travelled through the terminal 1965 - The M4 Motorway to Heathrow airport opened

1968 - A cargo tunnel opened in 1968, linking Terminal 2 and the rest of central area to the 160 acre cargo site on the south side of the airport

1969 - The building was renamed 'Terminal 2' when Terminal 1 was opened

1977 - The London Underground link provided the world's first direct connection with an airport

1998 - The Heathrow Express direct link to Paddington was opened in 1998.

Terminal 2 at a glance

  • Terminal 2 was 49,654 square metres in size.
  • Terminal 2 was originally designed to accommodate 1.2 million passengers annually but in its last years regularly saw around 8 million passengers a year.
  • Over the course of its history, Terminal 2 saw 316 million passengers pass through.
  • The busiest day ever at Terminal 2 was July 19 2003 with 35,918 passengers.
  • The busiest year at Terminal 2 was 2002 with 86,824 flights.
  • Airlines operating from T2 in February 2009 (the last month when a full schedule operated) were: Aeroflot, Air Algerie, Air Astana, Air France, Air Seychelles, Air Transat, Alitalia, Arik Air, Atlas Blue, Austrian Airlines, Azerbaijan Airlines, Bellview Airlines, Bulgaria Air, China Eastern Airlines, Clickair, Croatia Airlines, CSA Czech Airlines, Iberia, Jat Airways, Libyan Airlines, Lufthansa, Olympic Airlines, Rossiya Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Swissair, Syrianair, TAP Portugal, TAROM, Tunisair, Uzbekistan Airways and Yemenia.
  • Heathrow Airport handles an average of 180,000 passengers and 1350 flights daily. It is the world's busiest international airport and serves over 180 destinations on around 90 airlines.

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