When Heathrow's Terminal 2 was originally opened in 1955, it could comfortably handle 1.2 million passengers annually. When it was closed in 2009, the number of annual passengers passing through the terminal was closer to 8 million. It was clear to all involved that a new facility was needed. And that's exactly what Heathrow got. A new Terminal 2 opened on June 23 with a dedication ceremony by the Queen.
Queen Elizabeth opened the original Terminal 2 more than a half-century ago. Therefore, it was appropriate to see her at the grand opening of the new facility, where she was taken on a grand tour after making her official remarks and unveiling a commemorative plaque. Onlookers and guests were thrilled to have the Queen on hand for the newly built replacement facility, in a sense watching her come full circle.
A week after the grand ceremony, passengers are settling in nicely at Terminal 2. The terminal hosts Little Red (Virgin Airlines), Aer Lingus, Germanwings and eventually, as many as 23 airlines from the Star Alliance. The building also provides passengers with all of the amenities and comforts they desire while waiting for their flights.
New ... and Old
One of Terminal 2's wonderful little secrets has to do with the materials used to build it. According to Travel News UK, some 99% of the materials salvaged from the old building were either recycled or used in constructing the replacement. Passengers will be surrounded by pieces of the old terminal wherever they move within the building, probably without even knowing it.
Recycling as much as possible should be no surprise in a country dedicated to green initiatives and making the most use of available resources. It is a wonderful thing to see older materials re-purposed rather than dumped in a landfill somewhere. In a small but very real way, the new Terminal 2 is both a tribute to a cleaner future and an honourable reminder of the past. However, it has not come without some challenges.
The terminal underwent six months of testing before it was opened to the public. By using 14,000 volunteers willing to act as passengers, the building and all its equipment was put through its paces by way of 180 test scenarios. Terminal 2 performed admirably throughout.
If you plan to fly on one of the airlines housed at Terminal 2, you will be pleased to know the facility offers:
- 28 gates
- 36 immigration lines
- 33 shops
- 17 restaurants
- 634 toilets
- 126 manual and self-service check-in kiosks
- 1,340 parking spaces
- a capacity of 4,000 bags per hour
- a capacity of 20 million passengers annually.
The new facility is certainly not your grandparent's Terminal 2 from the 1950s. It is a state-of-the-art facility combining the latest technology with the creature comforts today's air passengers expect. We suspect it will do a great deal to boost Heathrow's reputation as one of the finest airports in the world.
- Travel News UK – http://www.travel-news.co.uk/9726/2014/06/queen-to-open-new-heathrow-terminal-2-today/