The fifth busiest airport in the world, London Heathrow, completed its recent renovation project this month. The first flight to utilize the new terminal, United Airlines flight UA958 from Chicago, arrived on Wednesday, June 4 at 5:49 a.m. local time. The plan is for United to be the sole user of the terminal for two weeks until Air Canada begins operations on June 18, with remaining airlines moving-in over the following six months.
The first phase of the renovation began in 2009 and underwent 6 months of testing prior to opening for passengers this June. Having been combined with the original Terminal 2 and the Queen’s Building, this new terminal has been dubbed the “Queen’s Terminal.”
In recent years, the airport had been criticized for overcrowding and delays and is hoping Terminal 2 and other upcoming expansions will relieve some pressure on terminal facilities. The original Terminal 2 was the airport’s oldest terminal and was designed to handle approximately 1.2 million passengers. As of 2009, however, it was accommodating close to 8 million. Upon completion, the terminal will have capacity for 30 million passengers, increasing airport efficiency as well as the traveler experience. The second phase of Terminal 2 is set to begin in 2016 with a speculated completion sometime in the next decade.
Overall, the new terminal will be operating with 40% less carbon dioxide emissions than before with the help of LED lighting, solar panels, and the use of woodchips from local renewable resources for heating and cooling. Currently, passengers can choose from a selection of 52 shops and 17 bars and restaurants, while United’s premium customers can enjoy new spacious lounges equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows, complimentary food & drink, and shower suites.