Heathrow Airport, the major airport serving London, is now on track to officially open its new Terminal 2 – also known as The Queen’s Terminal – on June 14, 2014. A United Airlines flight from Chicago is scheduled to be the first flight to land on opening day.
The new Terminal 2, along with Terminal 5 – another modernized terminal, will handle 75 percent of all flights to and from the United States at Heathrow. It will also be the home to 22 Star Alliance airlines as well as Irish carrier Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic’s Little Red and low-cost carrier, Germanwings.
The terminal was designed by the Spanish architectural firm Luis Vidal + Architects (LVA). It features an undulating steel-framed roof with three large “waves” to emphasize the three main parts of the passenger journey: check-in, security and boarding.
The roof orientation also provides consistent and steady light quality as natural light from the north helps to illuminate the floor during the day. Additionally, the underside of the roof is covered with a material that reflects natural light during the day and artificial light at night.
The £2.5 billion ($4.1 billion) redevelopment and construction of Terminal 2 was completed in 5 years and includes the main Terminal 2 building, a large aviation-themed sculpture dubbed Slipstream, by British artist Richard Wilson, a 1,340-space parking facility and an energy center and cooling station.
Slipstream will be a giant sculpture with a flowing, twisting aluminium form representing an imagined flight path of a Zivko Edge 540 stunt plane. Slipstream will be one of the longest permanent sculptures in Europe, with a length of over 230 feet and weight of over 77 tons.
The sculpture, which will be unveiled on April 23, will be suspended between two passenger walkways.