13 December 2012 by Luke McCormick
Heathrow Airport has announced that Star Alliance, Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic domestic routes will operate from Terminal 2 when it opens in 2014.
The airline moves announced would enable the early closure of Terminal 1, which would allow all passengers to travel through new or refurbished terminals from 2016.
The new terminal marks the latest phase of an £11 billion transformation of Heathrow. Eventually 20 million passengers a year will use the new terminal, which consists of a main terminal building plus satellite building and aircraft parking stands.
The £2.5billion development is the largest privately funded construction project in the UK and has been delivered at no cost to the taxpayer.
The decision on which airlines will operate from the terminal follows a nine-month consultation with airlines, which was prompted by the sale of BMI to International Airlines Group, the owner of British Airways.
John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Development Director, said: "Terminal 2 will offer a significant improvement for passengers travelling through Heathrow.
"Providing all airlines and their passengers with great facilities is a key part of our vision for Heathrow. Terminal 5 was recently voted by passengers as the best airport terminal in the world and the opening of Terminal 2 will mark another major step forward."
The Star Alliance is the second largest airline alliance operating from Heathrow. Its airlines currently operate from Terminals 1, 3 and 4. Globally Star Alliance has the highest number of member airlines, daily flights, and destinations of any airline alliance.
Its airline members operating from Heathrow include: Aegean Air, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss International Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Thai Airways International, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways.
Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland and Heathrow's fourth largest airline. Aer Lingus currently operates from Terminal 1.
Virgin Atlantic is the UK's second largest long-haul airline with a fleet of 40 aircraft. From summer 2013, Virgin Atlantic will operate domestic routes from Heathrow to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen following the award of ‘remedy slots' as a result of IAG's acquisition of BMI.
These flights will initially operate from Terminal 1 (where BMI was based) before moving to Terminal 2 in 2014. Virgin Atlantic's international flights will continue to operate from Terminal 3.
Heathrow officials say they will continue to work with Virgin Atlantic on how its services might be co-located in the future.