The new terminal is a £2.5 billion project and marks the latest phase of an £11 billion private sector investment that has transformed Heathrow for passengers. This investment includes the construction of Terminal 2A and B, Terminal 5 A, B and C, a new control tower, and the refurbishment of Terminals 3 and 4.
Terminal 2 is the next step in the transformation of passenger service at Heathrow. The proportion of passengers rating their journey at Heathrow as “very good” or “excellent” is now 80%, compared to only 41% in 2006. Terminal 5 has been voted by passengers as the world's best airport terminal for the last three years, and Heathrow is now rated as among the top ten airports in the world for passenger service – the only UK airport to receive such an accolade.
Heathrow Airport will welcome The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to an opening ceremony attended by over 1,000 people who were either involved in the construction of the building or are part of the team now working in the new terminal. Her Majesty will unveil a commemorative plaque that will later be installed to a public part of the building for passengers and colleagues to see. The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, will give a short address at the event.
During the visit Her Majesty will meet various people including the Chairman, Chief Executive and Development Director of Heathrow Airport; the Chief Executives of the Star Alliance airlines; Luis Vidal, the lead and concept architect for Terminal 2; a group of prominent British retailers who have recently opened premises in the new terminal; Richard Wilson, the designer of the Slipstream art installation situated in the forecourt of the terminal; and various representatives of companies across the country who have been part of the construction team.
The original Terminal 2 was Heathrow's first passenger terminal. When it was opened in 1955, by Her Majesty The Queen, it was the most modern airport facility of its day with silver service restaurants, a cocktail lounge and a rooftop viewing gallery. In the years that followed the terminal witnessed the arrival of The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot. By the beginning of the 21st century Terminal 2 had outlived its intended purpose. Designed to welcome 1 million passengers, by the turn of the century it was straining under the weight of 8 million. The opening of Terminal 5 in March 2008 created the opportunity to demolish the old building and make way for a modern terminal to replace Terminals 1 and 2.
Terminal 2 successfully welcomed its first passengers on 4 June and is now home to United, Air Canada, ANA and Air China. Eventually it will be home to 26 airlines – 23 members of the Star Alliance as well as Aer Lingus, Germanwings and Virgin Atlantic Little Red. Airlines will move into the new terminal in phases over the next six months. When fully occupied, Terminal 2 will have 332 daily flights to 54 global destinations.
John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Development Director and Chief Executive Designate said:
“Heathrow is delighted to welcome Her Majesty to open her new airport terminal. Today is a celebration of the great work by many people and many organisations from across the country to create a new front door for the UK.
“The completion of the new Queen's Terminal is the culmination of an £11bn private investment programme that delivers a world-class hub airport that the UK can be proud of”.