Passengers using London Heathrow's Terminal 2 in its first week of operation should be prepared to experience delays, the airport's development director said today.
John Holland-Kaye said teething problems are to be expected when the new terminal opens in June and that his team's main challenge is to minimise any disruption.
He told a T2 briefing in London: "The chance of a completely smooth opening for any airport terminal in the world is low.
"We can't guarantee that opening day will be perfect. There is a very high risk of things happening [on the opening day] when you carry out a live operation for the first time."
He added: "The chance of delays in week one is very high. By week two, it will be a lot less [likely]... but look at Terminal 5, after a few weeks everything was running smoothly."
Terminal 2 will have the capacity for 20 million passengers a year and will house all of Star Alliance's 23 airlines "under one roof", as well as Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic Little Red and Germanwings.
The £2.5 billion facility will open in stages from June 4. That day, the first flight into the terminal will be operated by United Airlines — flight UA958 from Chicago is scheduled to land at 0555.
United will have sole operation of the terminal for two weeks until fellow Star Alliance carrier Air Canada joins it on June 18. The other Star Alliance airlines will then move over in stages, with all 23 in place by the end of October, the start of the winter season.
Earlier this week, celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal unveiled details about his T2 restaurant (see news, March 10), while the airport revealed the terminal's full line-up of shops, restaurants and bars at the end of last month (see news, February 26).