Aer Lingus among biggest carriers in new £2.5bn Heathrow Terminal 2
Aer Lingus will be one of the biggest operators at Heathrow's new Terminal 2 when the £2.5bn (€2.9bn) facility opens next year.
The terminal is due to open to the public next June, with construction being completed this November. Extensive testing of the terminal will take place before the first flight arrives – a United Airlines service from Chicago – on June 4, 2014.
It will also mean an end to the tortuous circumnavigation currently required by Irish passengers at Heathrow's existing Terminal 1. That terminal will be demolished in 2016 and rebuilt.
Terminal 2 is being built to handle about 20 million passengers a year. An extension will provide capacity for another 10 million.
Heathrow executives said that their design team had also visited the Dublin Airport Authority's T2 – as well as other airports – before embarking on their own project. Dublin's T2 is designed to cope with about 15 million passengers a year.
Aer Lingus will move flights to Terminal 2 on July 9 next year, according to Heathrow's schedule. It will be the ninth airline to commence operations from the new facility. United, Air Canada and Air China are among the first. A total of 26 airlines are planning to use it.
It's estimated that Aer Lingus will account for about 10pc of the capacity usage at the new terminal, with the Lufthansa group and United among the biggest users. Aer Lingus will also fit out a new lounge, while check-in for Virgin's domestic 'Little Red' service that Aer Lingus leases aircraft and crew to, will be based beside the Irish carrier's desks.
There was huge demand for retail space at the new terminal. There are close to 60 shops and 17 food outlets.
Heathrow officials insist passengers will be able to make a quick exit from the airport on arrival and get to facilities such as the Heathrow Express within 10 minutes of landing.
They added that the building was constructed so as to ease the flow of passengers through check-in, security and departure, making the process less stressful.