Queen hailed as 'inspiration' for new Heathrow terminal

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The Queen officially opened Heathrow's new £2.5 billion terminal today.

She was hailed as the "inspiration" as she joined the Duke of Edinburgh for a tour of the Terminal 2 building, which is named the Queen's Terminal in her honour, as more than 1,000 guests gathered for an opening ceremony at the airport.

The Queen, wearing an all-blue outfit and matching hat, was introduced to celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal and designer Cath Kidston, who have both set up outlets at T2.

Blumenthal, who has opened the Perfectionists' Cafe, said he was keen to let Philip know his favourite dish was on the menu after being questioned why he was not at his three Michelin-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck.

"He's a real foodie and a very good cook," Blumenthal said.

"He said, 'why are you not back in Bray?'. I told him, 'we've got your favourite, fish and chips, on the menu here'.

"The Queen has a really good sense of humour. She said, 'you've got a restaurant here?'. I told her we had liquid nitrogen ice cream, which she has come across before."

Speaking about the new terminal, Kidston said: "It's the window to the world. We have so many international customers, particulary in the Far East.

"The Queen is just a beacon of professionalism, both her and Prince Philip, what they offer us.

"I'm very proud to be representing Heathrow businesses here today."

Heathrow managers decided to open T2 in stages earlier this month to avoid any repeat of the disastrous opening day of Terminal 5 in March 2008.

Airlines will move into the new terminal in phases over the next six months and, when fully occupied, it will have 332 daily flights to 54 destinations.

More than 1,000 people who work at the terminal or who were involved in building the facility were invited to the official opening ceremony.

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Addressing the guests, Heathrow development director John Holland-Kaye said: "Our ambition to play our part to help Britain remain a global economic powerhouse by connecting all of Britain to global growth, that sense of duty is one for which we take inspiration from one of our most frequent flyers, Her Majesty the Queen."

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "This prestigious event marks the successful completion of one of the UK's largest construction projects.

"The new terminal is a perfect example of cutting-edge technology and design that can combine to make the best use of capacity, to improve the passengers' journey and experience, to boost the carbon efficiency by 40% over the previous building, and to produce stunning architecture that further reinforces Heathrow's reputation as a world class airport."

T2 was first opened by the Queen in 1955 as the airport's first passenger terminal. During their tour of the new building, the royal couple were introduced to sculptor Richard Wilson, whose Slipstream art installation is in the forecourt of T2.

After unveiling a commemorative plaque, the Queen and Duke boarded a flight to Northern Ireland for a three-day visit.

Top 10 airports in the world (Skytrax)

Top 10 airports in the world (Skytrax)


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