A new chapter in the history of Heathrow Airport began today when at 04.50hrs, the first passengers arrived at Terminal 5, from Hong Kong on flight BA26.Inaugurated by Her Majesty The Queen two weeks ago (Friday 14 March), the £4.3bn building today welcomes 12,000 British Airways’ passengers, marking the start of operations of Heathrow’s stunning new airport facility.
Mark Bullock, Managing Director of BAA Heathrow said:
“This is an incredibly exciting day for BAA and one which marks a turning point for Heathrow. We have waited over 20 years to welcome passengers to Terminal 5 and during that time Heathrow has got increasingly congested. Terminal 5 signifies a new beginning for Heathrow and I am immensely proud that we open the doors of this magnificent building today, exactly when we said we would.
Designed for 21st century travel, every aspect of the terminal, from the arrangement of check-in desks and high-tech baggage system, through to the 9,000 seats, has been designed for passengers’ comfort and ease. Over 30,000 square metres of glazing provides a light and airy environment with clear views across the airfield. Located beneath the terminal is a modern and spacious rail station, providing direct transport links to London including the Heathrow Express service and London Underground’s Piccadilly Line .
The start of operations at Terminal 5 signals a new beginning for Heathrow; it will provide the airport with much needed additional capacity so that the transformation of existing terminal facilities can continue at pace. Over the next five years, BAA will invest around £4bn in a development programme that includes closing Terminal 2 and replacing it with a modern, energy efficient terminal.
Terminal 5 is one of the most successful construction projects ever undertaken in the UK. The hugely complex programme of work was carried out on a 260ha site, situated between with the world’s busiest runways. A former Thames Water sludge works, the site now includes Terminal 5A - the UK’s largest free-standing structure - and its satellite building Terminal 5B. A second satellite building, Terminal 5C will open in 2010.