We’re delighted to announce that Virgin Atlantic Little Red will be moving into Heathrow’s newly-opened Terminal 2 on 10 September 2014 – a cutting edge destination in its own right designed by acclaimed Spanish architecture practice LVA.
The new terminal will become one of the UK’s primary gateways – both arriving and departing – and will welcome over twice the population of London annually. Conceived as an extension of the city itself, it’s expected that passengers will view their time at the terminal as an integral part of their stay. With a public piazza and more than 20,000 square metres of leisure space across two floors, travellers can enjoy a thoughtful balance of of amenities, services, retail and catering in a welcoming atmosphere.
Opened by the Queen in 1995, the previous Terminal 2 was Heathrow’s first terminal, originally known as the “Europa Building”. It was designed to handle 1.2 million passengers per year, but by the time it closed in 2009 that figure had shot up to 8 million.
Now able to deal with 20 million people annually, the new Terminal 2 – also know as The Queen’s Terminal – opened to the public in June, as part of an £11 billion transformation to improve the passenger experience at Heathrow. Check-in will be roomy enough to accommodate 3,000 passengers per hour, with 56 traditional check-in desks, 60 fast bag drops and 66 self-service kiosks. Add to that approximately 600 security offers, 30 service ambassadors and 24 security lanes, and it’s safe to say the entire passenger journey will be a seamless one – especially after the terminal's 182 trials involving some 14,000 people before opening.
Don't forget to cast your eyes skywards however, because above the hubbub of Terminal 2’s entrance hangs a remarkable and ambitious work of art by renowned British sculptor Richard Wilson, who has long drawn inspiration from the interconnected worlds of construction and engineering. Running along the length of the Covered Court, Slipstream – a twisting 78-metre aluminium form suspended 18 metres above the ground – was commissioned by Heathrow to welcome passengers to the UK’s largest airport, and takes its cue from the imagined flight path of a small Edge 540 stunt plane.
Views of Slipstream are not only enjoyed from ground level, as the terminal’s architecture features many walkways, escalators and bridges. “In a way, we are also airbone as we travel through the space, and moving causes the sculpture to unfurl alongside us as we participate,” says Wilson. “We too, at the airport, flow through time leaving a special drawing of our every moving event from departure to arrival. Flight, architecture and sculpture are about exploring an undefined space.”
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.