By The Airport Informer

Heathrow Airport today announced that the new Terminal 2 will be home to STAR Alliance and Aer Lingus flights as well as Virgin Atlantic’s domestic routes when it opens in 2014.

The new Terminal 2 will give Heathrow the best passenger facilities of any major hub in Europe. 75% of passengers at Heathrow already rate their experience as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’ following the opening of Terminal 5 and the refurbishment of Terminals 1, 3 and 4 (up from 41% in 2006). The airline moves announced today would enable the early closure of Terminal 1 which would allow all passengers to travel through new or refurbished terminals from 2016.

The new terminal marks the latest phase of an £11 billion transformation of Heathrow. 20 million passengers a year will eventually use the new terminal, which consists of a main terminal building plus satellite building and aircraft parking stands. The £2.5billion development is the largest privately-funded construction project in the UK and has been delivered at no cost to the taxpayer. 35,000 people will have worked on the terminal over the lifetime of the project.

The decision on which airlines will operate from the terminal follows a nine-month consultation with airlines which was prompted by the sale of bmi to IAG, the owner of British Airways.

Since the review began in March 2012, Heathrow has met with airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority on a regular basis to agree the terms of reference and evaluation process and to listen to feedback. All the relevant data has been shared with all parties to ensure a fair and transparent process. Heathrow is required to treat all airlines equitably, and 18 separate options for the new terminal were considered and assessed against agreed criteria. The process has led to the decision that the following airlines will operate from Terminal 2:

STAR Alliance. The STAR Alliance network is one of three global airline alliances, and the second largest alliance operating from Heathrow. Its airlines currently operate from Terminals 1, 3 and 4. Globally, STAR has the highest number of member airlines, daily flights, and destinations of any airline alliance. Its airline members operating from Heathrow include: Aegean Air, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss International Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Thai Airways International, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways.

Aer Lingus. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland and Heathrow’s fourth largest airline. Aer Lingus currently operates from Terminal 1.

Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic is the UK’s second largest long-haul airline with a fleet of 40 aircraft. From summer 2013, Virgin Atlantic will operate domestic routes from Heathrow to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen following the award of ‘remedy slots’ as a result of IAG’s acquisition of bmi. These flights will initially operate from Terminal 1 (where bmi was based) before moving to Terminal 2 in 2014. Virgin Atlantic’s international flights will continue to operate from Terminal 3. Heathrow will continue to work with Virgin Atlantic on how its services might be co-located in the future.

Heathrow is still in discussion with those airlines which currently operate from Terminal 1 and are not members of the Star Alliance (El Al, Icelandair, Cyprus Airways, Germanwings and Transaero), about their future location when Terminal 1 closes. We expect to conclude these discussions in early 2013.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Development Director, said:

“Terminal 2 will offer a significant improvement for passengers travelling through Heathrow. Providing all airlines and their passengers with great facilities is a key part of our vision for Heathrow. Terminal 5 was recently voted by passengers as the best airport terminal in the world and the opening of Terminal 2 will mark another major step forward.”