On the day Britain's Queen Elizabeth II marks her official birthday, Heathrow will rename its new Terminal 2 as "Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal."
The new Terminal 2 will open next year, on June 4, 2014, nearly sixty years after The Queen opened the original Terminal 2. This is only the latest connection between Her Majesty and Heathrow:
- 1952: The former Princess Elizabeth returned to Heathrow as Queen Elizabeth II, after her father, George VI, died while she was touring Kenya.
- 1955: The Queen opened Heathrow’s first permanent passenger terminal, the Europa Building, which was later renamed Terminal 2, as well as the Queen’s Building and the airport’s original control tower.
- 1969: Her Majesty formally inaugurated Terminal 1.
- 1977: The Queen unveiled the London Underground connection between central London and Heathrow – the first link of its kind to connect a capital city with its major airport.
- 2008: Terminal 5 was opened by Her Majesty.
- 2012: A giant Union Flag with an image of The Queen was painted next to Heathrow’s northern runway to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.
Heathrow was originally known as London Airport when it opened in 1946 with a temporary village of tents for passengers. Those tents were gradually replaced with prefabricated concrete villages before the opening of the old Terminal 2 and Queen’s Building. The airport saw more than 2 million passengers in 1955 and 70 million last year.
In contrast to those early days, the new Terminal 2 will be similar in feel to Terminal 5. It will use the latest check-in and bag-drop technology and will offer a range of shops and restaurants.
It is one of the largest private construction projects in the UK, with a supply chain and jobs supported in every region and country. By the time it opens next year, the £2.5 billion project will have supported 35,000 jobs.
The terminal is the next major step in the transformation of Heathrow, and will continue the progress the airport has made in recent years with the opening of Terminal 5 and the refurbishment of Terminals 1, 3 and 4. £11bn has been spent on the airport over the last decade and passenger satisfaction scores now rank Heathrow as among the world’s very best large airports.
The terminal is on schedule to be completed in November 2013 and there will then be six months of testing. By the time the terminal opens for service it will have undergone 182 trials and been tested by 14,000 people.