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Saturday, June 7, 2014

London Heathrow Airport's New T2 Star Alliance Terminal Opens

London Heathrow Airport's new Terminal 2 – officially dubbed The Queen's Terminal, and home to Star Alliance airlines – opens for flights today – and it's a sight to behold, as you'll see from our 'virtual walk-though' photo tour.
Twenty-three Star Alliance member airlines will progressively call the new terminal home over a six month period, along with Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic's Little Red and Germanwings.
Built at a cost of £2.5 billion (A$4.65 billion), T2 will handle an estimated 20 million passengers a year.
Certainly the most striking view will be from the air, looking down on the 'triple wave roof' designed by Spanish architect Luis Vidal, who believes that "airports are the Cathedrals of the 21st century".
The roof's northern orientation also helps to draw in natural light during the day, while the underside of the roof is designed to reflect light internally during all light conditions – including at night when artificial light is used.
Here's a close-up view of the rippling roof as it neared completion.
The three waves in Vidal's design are intended to reflect the three main parts of a passenger's journey: check-in, security screening and boarding.
A wide multi-lane approach road with deep footpaths and an attached multi-level car park set up the first stage of the journey.
The centrepiece of T2's cavernous atrium is 'Slipstream' – a sculpture over 70 metres long and weighing 77 tonnes, created by internationally renowned British artist Richard Wilson.
The artwork takes on an imagined flight path of a Zivko Edge 540 stunt plane, carving through the open space of Terminal 2's Covered Court.
Wilson's intention was "to transpose the thrill of the air-show to the architectural environment of the international air terminal".
T2's travellers will find 66 self-service check-in kiosks at the ready, along with an equal number of 'fast bag drops'.
Most of these will be shared among all the Star Alliance airlines, so you won't need to head to a specific airline's check-in area – just use any kiosk that takes your fancy.
In a similar fashion to Qantas' Faster, Smarter Check-in, passengers can print and attach their own bag tags before depositing them at the automated bag drop facilities.
The terminal also features 56 check-in desks, capable of handling 3,000 passengers every hour.
Elite frequent flyers and passengers travelling in business or first class have exclusive use of four dedicated 'Fast Track' lanes, with 17 lanes dedicated to economy passengers and three reserved for airport and airline staff.
During the peak, a total of 24 screening lanes will be operational to minimise queue times.
After passing through security, the stunning two-level departure lounge gives passengers room to relax amidst many shops, bars and restaurants.
The terminal will also features numerous quirky visual displays.
It's all a far cry from the original Europa Building, which was the first terminal at London Heathrow and demolished in 2009 after 54 years of service.
A much younger Queen Elizabeth II was on hand to open that terminal and she'll be cutting the ribbon at this month's official opening ceremony for the new T2, which has been named The Queen's Terminal in her honour.

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Live to love and love to live. The motto that I held on my entire life. Just a regular guy who loves what I am passionate in life. A song writer and producer. Living life on the move. From Malaysia to The States, New Zealand to Singapore. With the companion of great people in life. In and out from the music industry. Taking everything one step at a time. 
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