Amidst the ongoing question of how Britain will increase its airport capacity, Heathrow has pushed on with expansion plans to improve its service for international customers. This has seen the country’s largest airport open the doors of the new Terminal 2 building this week, with the first flight having arrived at 05:49am yesterday morning.
Yet it seems that Heathrow has learned from the mistakes of the past, wishing to avoid the chaos of the Terminal 5 opening in 2008 when staff struggled to cope with new systems and caused hundreds of passengers to complain about misplaced baggage. In order to avoid a similar situation, T2 will open in stages and will at first operate at only 10 per cent capacity, with only United Airlines making use of the new building for some months.
Development director at Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, explains the reason for the staggered opening of the terminal.
He says; “T2 is the culmination of an £11 billion investment programme that has transformed Heathrow for passengers.
“Our measure of success is not everything running perfectly on day one; there will inevitably be things we can improve.
“Our real measure of success is whether T2 comes to be rated by passengers as one of the world’s best airport terminals for years to come.”
The £2.5 billion new building will occupy the site of Heathrow’s very first passenger terminal, which was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1955. As a result, T2 will also be known as the Queen’s Terminal.
As well as the 60 check in gates, 66 self-check in kiosks and 29 security lanes contained within the new terminal, there are also 33 shops and 17 restaurants in operation on the premises. One of the retail units is now occupied by John Lewis, marking the retailer’s first foray into airport retailing.
The 3,600 sq ft store can be found on the top floor of the departure lounge and stocks own-brand and designer collaboration products as well as an exclusive range designed for the Heathrow site. Executives at John Lewis hope that this will provide an ideal opportunity for the retailer to bring its ranges to a wider pool of consumers and provide further scope for moving into transportation hubs in the future.
Buying and brand director at John Lewis, Paula Nickolds, says; “Terminal 2 will offer John Lewis access to one of the most concentrated, valuable and influential markets in the world.
“We hope to bring the John Lewis brand to a wider set of international customers – showcasing our offer within a dynamic environment, building brand awareness and credibility as a worldwide brand.”
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