London Heathrow to close Terminal 2 in 2009

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UK airports operator BAA today said it will close London Heathrow’s Terminal 2 when alliance carriers co-locate their operations at Terminals 1, 3 and 4 in 2009.

The closure of Terminal 2 will enable BAA to press ahead with its recently-announced Heathrow East facility, intended for completion by 2012, and capable of handling 30 million passengers.

BAA says that the move represents a “significant step forward” in making the Heathrow East proposal “a reality”.

British Airways will move into the new Terminal 5 when it opens next year, while its Oneworld alliance partners will co-locate to Terminal 3, along with Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Star Alliance carriers are to take over Terminal 1, with SkyTeam members co-locating to Terminal 4. Non-aligned airlines will also probably be relocated to Terminal 4.

This redistribution, says BAA, will mean that annual passenger numbers in Terminal 2 will drop to 1.5 million from the current 9 million, which raises questions about the “economic and operational viability” of the terminal.

“This low level of passenger traffic makes the continued operation of Terminal 2 unsustainable and, therefore, a decision has been made today to close the facility after all of the airline relocations have taken place,” adds BAA.