PICTURES: Star Alliance hails ‘smooth start’ at Heathrow’s T2

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More than 4,000 passengers used London Heathrow’s Terminal 2 in its first eight hours of operation, says Star Alliance.

The first flight to arrive at the new facility, which landed at 05:43 this morning, was conducted by Star carrier United Airlines, which will the sole operator at Terminal 2. The 22 other Star carriers with operations at Heathrow will be resident at Terminal 2 within six months, along with Aer Lingus, Germanwings and Little Red.

Star says the facility has made “a smooth start to operations”.

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All photos: James Mellon/Flightglobal

By 12.40 local time, says Star, more than 1,800 departing passengers had travelled through Terminal 2 and more than 2,400 passengers had flown in to it, while 2,000 bags had been checked in and 2,300 delivered to the baggage-claim belt.

The new facility appears to have avoided the teething problems that beset the last major new terminal opening at the London hub. Issues with the baggage system marred the high-profile opening of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 in March 2008, resulting in delays and operational chaos at the airport.

With United up and running at Terminal 2, a trio of Star carriers will be next to move there, on 18 June: Air Canada, Air China and All Nippon Airways.

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Aegean Airlines, Eva Air, Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines will follow suit in July, and Colombian carrier Avianca is to launch a service between London and Bogota that month.

September will bring the transition of EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines and Singapore Airlines, and October the rest: Air New Zealand, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, LOT, Lufthansa, South African Airways, Swiss International Air Lines and TAP Portugal.

Together, Star Alliance carriers operate some 121 flights per day from Heathrow, to 45 destinations.

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At Terminal 2, airlines are grouped in zones within the check-in area, and 81 common-use self-service kiosks can be used by any passenger to check in or print a bag tag before they proceed to a bag-drop desk.

Full-service traditional check-in desks are available to first-class, business-class and Star Alliance Gold passengers. Premium passengers can also avail of fast-track security.

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Eight out of the satellite pier’s 12 gates will allow self-boarding, in which passengers simply pass through a mechanical barrier to board their flight.