LHR T2 passengers should ‘expect delays’ in first week

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). 


Graham Smith

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  • Good to see sensible expectations management in place on this launch.

    Passengers should consider avoiding using T2 carriers during June 2014, reducing their checked baggage to a minimum, ensure essentials and sentimental items are in hand baggage, label luggage inside and out with name, flight and contact details, as well as double checking the label placed on your bag at check in is accurate.

    There’s greatly reduced potential for baggage to go lost with these precautions in place.

  • Although with only one airline using in the first two weeks with around 20 flights a day one would hope Heathrow Airport could cope….

  • I do hope it goes without any major hitches. If only to disappoint the UK media who no doubt will be waiting to pounce with glee if it doesn’t.

  • Definately some expectation management! If they can’t process a few UA flights in a terminal built for 20 times that they should pack up and head home … To Spain!

  • So… planning for failure, or managing expectations? I’ll use AMS then, where the management plans to succeed.

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