London (Heathrow) Terminal 2 Open For Operations

London’s Heathrow International Airport, one of the busiest air hubs in the world, marked a milestone in its revitalization today with the opening of the newly-rebuilt Terminal 2. Passengers onboard United Airlines flight UA 958, arriving from Chicago at 0543 hrs this morning, were the first to utilize the facility, dubbed The Queen’s Terminal in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.


Integration and Efficiency the Key

Designed by lead architect Luis Vidal, the terminal was jointly developed by Heathrow, Star Alliance and its member carriers, which will operate under one roof for the first time at the airport (together with Aer Lingus, Germanwings and Virgin Atlantic Little Red). With the aim of establishing a true seamless hub for the grouping’s 12 million passengers flying through London each year, facilities are closely integrated and technology leveraged throughout the terminal.


Natural light, drawn in from the northern orientation of the striking ‘triple-wave roof’, create an open and airy atmosphere. The open-plan check-in area is designed for efficiency, where airlines are grouped in zones and a row of 81 common check-in kiosks is available for passengers before they head to a bag-drop desk. First, Business and Star Alliance Gold passengers are served by traditional manned check-in desks and enjoy fast-track privileges at the adjacent security area which opens out on the top level of a two-tier international departures hall.


Departing and arriving passengers are segregated on different levels of the building, guided by ample signage. Transfer passengers follow a separate channel from the arrival gate to security to rejoin the departing passengers flow, with minimum connection times targeted at a standardized 60 minutes. Aiding the flow will be self-boarding facilities at 8 of the 12 gates at the T2B satellite, where passengers scan their boarding pass and move through an automated gantry to board their flight.


Star Alliance Synergies

United Airlines is the first to move into Terminal 2 and will be followed by the remaining 22 Star Alliance carriers in groups, with Air Canada, Air China and All Nippon Airways next in-line to move on 18 June 2014. They will be followed by Aegean Airlines, Avianca, EVA Air, Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines in July 2014 before the European summer holidays.


Moves will resume in September 2014 with Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines, SAS Scandinavian Airlines and Singapore Airlines shifting their operations, followed by Air New Zealand, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, South African Airways, SWISS and TAP Portugal in October 2014.


Eligible passengers will be hosted at 6 lounges in the terminal. The main Star Alliance lounge will be operated by Lufthansa, adopting a similar arrangement to the grouping’s common lounge at Los Angeles International Airport, while Air Canada, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines will also operate their own branded lounges.


The Queen’s Terminal is the latest phase of a GBP 11 billion investment to revitalize Heathrow International Airport, alongside the construction of Terminal 5, a new control tower and the refurbishment of Terminal 3 and Terminal 4. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will officially open the terminal on 23 June 2014, almost 60 years after she opened the original Terminal 2 in 1955.


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