Trade attachés preview new Heathrow Terminal 2

AERL members at the Queen Elizabeth Terminal

AERL members were given special access to the iconic Terminal 2: the Queen’s Terminal at Heathrow before its official opening on 4 June.

A joint venture between Spain’s Ferrovial Agroman and Britain’s Laing O’Rourke, the £2.5 billion temple of travel serves 25 airlines, including 22 Star Alliance carriers, operating from more than 20 countries.

While airport terminals tend to be a drag for diplomats, the Terminal 2 aims to “recapture the thrill of travel,” Patrick Harkin, Heathrow’s Tour and Events manager, told economic attachés on their tour.

The light and airy structure, designed by Luis Vidal+Architects and Foster+Partners, will showcase the ‘Best of British’ design.

In the concourse attachés got a preview of the yet-to-be unveiled ‘Slipstream’, a huge 70m metal sculpture of a swooping stunt plane in flight by renowned British artist Richard Wilson.

The 52 shops and 17 bars and restaurants will be provided by top British brands, including Heston Blumenthal, Mulberry and John Lewis.

The redeveloped terminal also raises the bar in sustainable design. By maximising the use of natural light and using renewable energy from solar panels on the distinctive wavy roof, carbon emissions will be cut by 40 per cent.

Diplomats learned that Terminal 2 has been designed around passenger needs. Biometric technology and automation speeds up arrivals and departures so that at peak times T2 will be able to handle 3,000 passengers an hour.

Check-in desks will be more accessible and the wide security area has built-in flexibility to cope with additional security demands without disruption in the event of a sudden increase in the threat level.