Heathrow's new £2.5 billion Terminal 2 to open next week

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Heathrow's new £2.5 billion Terminal 2 to have phased opening

Heathrow's £2.5 billion new Terminal 2 (T2) opens next week with bosses at the airport determined there will not be a repeat of the disastrous start to their previous big terminal launch.

Practically everything that could go wrong did so on Heathrow Terminal 5's (T5) farcical opening day in March 2008, with huge queues, flight delays and thousands of bags going missing.

This time Heathrow chiefs have decided to have a phased opening of T2, whose official name is Terminal 2 The Queen's Terminal.

So for the first three weeks of T2's life, it will operate to just 10% of its capacity so that, in the words of Heathrow management, "we can iron out any teething troubles with minimal impact on passengers".

The first flight on Wednesday's opening day is a United Airlines service from Chicago due to touch down at 5.55am.

United is one of 26 airlines that will be moving into the new terminal and the American carrier will have the 430,000 sq ft place to itself for the first few weeks.

Mindful that far too much was attempted far too soon with the T5 opening debacle, Heathrow chiefs are moving the carriers in gradually, with just a handful, including Air Canada and Air China, transferring over during the summer.

By October, nearly all the T2 airlines will have moved in, with Sir Richard Branson's airline, Virgin Atlantic, eventually being based at the new terminal.

Under the managership of the west London airport's development director John Holland-Kaye, the creation of T2 has been accompanied by numerous test runs involving thousands of volunteers.

T2 boasts 60 check-in gates and 66 self-check-in kiosks, 29 security lanes, 33 shops, 17 restaurants, more than 7,000 seats, 634 toilets and 42 water fountains.

By the end of the year T2 will be handling passengers at the rate of 15.8 million a year and it has been built to take up to 20 million a year.

T2 replaces the old Terminal 2 at Heathrow which closed in 2009 after 54 years of service.

Source: PA

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