New Heathrow Terminal on Time to Open in March 2008

One year from Thursday, London's HeathrowAirport will open Terminal 5, the new home of British Airways. More than 90 percent of the terminal's construction already is complete and the project is on time and on budget, the carrier said. In September, BA will begin recruiting volunteer passengers to test such aspects of the building as parking, check-in, security and baggage and IT systems. BA's move to Terminal 5 will take place in two stages one month apart, with most short-haul flights and all long-haul flights from Terminal 1 operating from there on opening day, in addition to short-haul service from Terminal 4 and Miami flights from Terminal 3. Terminal 4 long-haul services, with the exception of Australian flights, will follow. On the first day of operation, Terminal 5 is expected to handle 40,000 passengers and annually, BA expects to process approximately 30 million customers. "When T5 opens and 30 million passengers move out of existing terminals, for the first time we will have space to breathe in the central terminal area and have a once in a lifetime opportunity to redevelop the rest of the airport and bring it up to a comparable standard to T5," said Tony Douglas, CEO of airport operator BAA Heathrow. "By 2012, we aim to have either re-built or redeveloped our existing facilities and returned Heathrow to its rightful status as the world's leading international airport." The new terminal features 60 aircraft stands and rail service to the London Underground Piccadilly Line and Heathrow Express, as well as two satellite buildings that will be complete by 2010. Too, high-end retailers such as Harrods, Paul Smith and Tiffany will open shops in the £4.3 billion complex. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey also will open his first airport-based restaurant there.

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