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Heathrow bosses wary of T2 opening


By Tom Donnelley

Heathrow bosses are determined not to repeat the same mistakes of the Terminal 5 fiasco six years ago when they open a new £2.5 billion terminal in a few weeks.

On the first day of opening thousands of bags were lost at Terminal 5 (T5), while passengers had to wait in long queues and flights were delayed.

In June, Heathrow will open a new Terminal 2 (T2), which will home 26 airlines and eventually be used by 20 million passengers a year.

In order to avoid making the same mistakes as with T5, airport chiefs said that the new T2 will only run at 10% capacity to begin with.

Getting ready for the grand opening

Virgin's domestic operation, Virgin Atlantic Little Red, will be the last airline to move into the new terminal in late November.

The airport has also held extensive system tests to make sure that terminal operations such as the check-in process and larger-scale trials are functioning ready for the grand opening.

A total of 14,000 people will help with getting T2 up to speed, with larger trials involving 3,000 people at a time.

"Almost every new terminal around the world has experienced difficulties during the first few days after opening, Terminal 5 included," Heathrow bosses said.

'A huge challenge'

"However, we've worked hard to learn lessons from our own experience and from others around the world. All of them have been incorporated in our planning for the opening of T2.

"Nevertheless, it will still be a huge challenge and some teething problems are inevitable."

Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Aer Lingus, Air China and United Airlines will all move over to T2 during the course of the year.

A new feature of T2 will allow passengers to take their meal on board from all of the T2 restaurants, with travellers promised a selection of dishes guaranteed to be ready in 15 minutes.

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