A United Airlines service from Chicago landing early on the morning of June 4 will be the first flight to use London Heathrow Airport’s...

Next to begin operating from Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal will be EVA Air, Thai Airways International and Turkish Airlines (again, all Star Alliance members), on July 2. Aer Lingus, which is not a member of Star, will begin serving Terminal 2 on July 9.

Heathrow Airport, view of the new Terminal 2A roof, 26 July 2013 © LHR Airports Limited

Heathrow Airport, view of the new Terminal 2A roof, 26 July 2013 © LHR Airports Limited

 


Aegean Airlines, a Star Alliance carrier, will start operating from there on July 23. September will see Star carriers Ethiopian Airlines, SAS and Singapore Airlines beginning operations from Terminal 2.

In October, all five Lufthansa Group carriers serving Heathrow (including Germanwings) will move into the terminal. So too will Star Alliance members Air New Zealand, Asiana Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, LOT Polish Airlines, South African Airways and TAP Portugal. It isn’t clear when Virgin Atlantic Little Red will begin operating its UK domestic flights from Terminal 2.

Klick says the new terminal’s design will allow passengers to connect between Star Alliance flights in a minimum of 60 minutes. While this sounds high compared to some other airports, Star’s minimum connection time at Heathrow until now has been about two hours. This is because its member airlines have been spread among four different terminals, three of them in the center of the airport and one on its southern side.

Heathrow, the new Terminal 2A, airside departure lounge, November 2013 © LHR Airports Limited

Heathrow, the new Terminal 2A, airside departure lounge, November 2013 © LHR Airports Limited

 

As a result, says Klick, Star Alliance is expecting far more connecting passengers on its flights to and from Heathrow once Terminal 2 opens and all Star carriers serving Heathrow are operating from it.

Terminal 2 will feature an intuitive means of way-finding for passengers. These are the three vaults of the roof guiding passengers directly from the entrance to the terminal to the boarding areas, according to Vidal. Intelligent use of color will also help to guide passengers and the terminal will require few directional signs as such, he says.

As a result of Star Alliance’s input to the planning process, Terminal 2 will use a new check-in design philosophy. Passengers entering the terminal will find self-service check-in machines as the first line of interaction they will encounter. Every one of the terminal’s 66 check-in machines will serve all airlines operating from Terminal 2.

Heathrow, the new Terminal 2A, check-in signage, November 2013 © LHR Airports Limited

Heathrow, the new Terminal 2A, check-in signage, November 2013 © LHR Airports Limited

 

Next, passengers will find checked-baggage drop areas and only as a third step will they find human-staffed check-in counters. The entire check-in area is under the first vault of the terminal roof’s three vaults.

Klick says Star Alliance persuaded Heathrow Airport Limited to adopt the new check-in philosophy for Terminal 2 because the alliance has found that passengers are increasingly checking in and selecting their aircraft seats before they reach the airport. If the new process finds a high level of acceptance by Terminal 2’s passengers, Star Alliance will introduce it at other airports.

Beyond the check-in desks are the security lanes and checkpoints (under the second of the roof’s three vaults) and beyond that, under the third vault, are the areas leading to the departure gates. The façades of the building where the gates are located will be windowed so that passengers can clearly see the weather and light conditions outside at all times, says Vidal.

CGI Heathrow, the new Terminal 2A, Security © Courtesy of Luis Vidal Architects

CGI Heathrow, the new Terminal 2A, Security © Courtesy of Luis Vidal Architects

 

Terminal 2 has been designed so all the skylight windows in its three-vault roof face north to obtain the most consistent light and so that the windows do not absorb and transfer any “solar gain” – that is, heat arising from direct sunlight – into the building. This will help to minimize its energy usage, according to Vidal.

The building is designed to be naturally airy and mainly lit by daylight, but its roof also contains LED lighting coordinated to compensate for outside-light conditions. The roof also contains 10 nozzles which will help to keep air quality inside the terminal high, Vidal says.

The architect also says Terminal 2 is designed for sustainability to a higher degree than any airport terminal previously built and it will be the world’s first to be awarded a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating. The BRE Group of environmental-assessment organizations will, in fact, use Terminal 2 as its standard to define the parameters required for an airport building to obtain a BREEAM rating.

Heathrow, the new Terminal 2A, roof architecture, 16 November 2013 © LHR Airports Limited

Heathrow, the new Terminal 2A, roof architecture, 16 November 2013 © LHR Airports Limited

 

A unique feature of the new terminal is that its attached “flans” – the attachments to the building’s airside façades from which the air bridges project – can be moved flexibly to other locations on the façades, according to Vidal.

One reason for this capability is that the entire north-facing front façade of the building – the side on which its entrances are located – has been designed so that the terminal can be expanded substantially to the north once the existing Terminal 1 has been demolished. Eventually Terminal 2 could end up at more than twice its current size.

Heathrow Airport, new T2 development, July 2013 © LHR Airports Limited

Heathrow Airport, new T2 development, July 2013 © LHR Airports Limited

 

The covered court between Terminal 2’s car park and its entrance also gives direct access one level down on to Heathrow’s central bus station. Underneath that are located the Heathrow Central station for the London Underground and also the Heathrow Central station for the Heathrow Express fast rail link to Paddington Station near the heart of London.

In the future Paddington Station will also be on the new Crossrail line. This will run 73 miles from Maidenhead to the west of London all the way out to London’s easternmost dormitory towns.

This would increase Heathrow’s potential catchment area substantially – but unless the airport is allowed to build another runway, Heathrow won’t be able to serve the additional passengers it might otherwise be able to entice.

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