Monday, November 02, 2009

Heathrow terminal changes afoot

With Terminal 1 now the home of half of the Star Alliance airlines (and a handful of others such as El Al), Terminal 2 is now being cleared out of the last remaining airlines before it gets demolished.

The OneWorld airlines that were there left for Terminal 3 some months ago, and the Star Alliance airlines did the same to Terminal 1. What is left are the bigger Skyteam airlines (Air France, Aeroflot and Alitalia, along with others), and a significant number of small independent European and Middle East/Central Asia and North African airlines.

They are all to go to Terminal 4 which had been undergoing significant refurbishment since BA all but moved out after the solving of the debacle at Terminal 5. BA and Qantas have just shifted their Australia, Bangkok, Singapore operations to Terminal 3 (now the home for One World airlines), so there is significant spare capacity at Terminal 4 to absorb all of the remaining Terminal 2 flights, plus Korean Air (which being Skyteam is joining its fellow airlines).

Terminal 4 will then be the first terminal where all airlines for one alliance are under one roof. All Skyteam airlines will operate from Terminal 4, plus all of the independent airlines currently in Terminal 2, and a handful of others that were already there (Continental recently shifted from Skyteam to Star Alliance but shows no sign of moving).

However, the moves have not stopped. Simultaneously, independent airlines at Terminal 3 are moving to Terminal 4 as well. Etihad, Jet, Malaysian and Gulf are the latest, with more to come. This will greatly relieve Terminal 3 which has had many airlines move to it in recent months, with only some Star Alliance carriers having moved out over a year ago to Terminal 1.

At the conclusion of all this shifting the general rule of thumb will be this.

Most BA flights will be in Terminal 5, but most operated as codeshares will be in Terminal 3.
All other OneWorld airlines will be in Terminal 3
All Skyteam airlines will be in Terminal 4
Star Alliance airlines are evenly split between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.
Virgin Atlantic remains in Terminal 3
Other non-aligned airlines will primarily be in Terminal 4, with a handful in Terminals 1 and 3.

Terminal 2 is to be demolished to make way for a new Terminal 2, which will accommodate the remaining Star Alliance airlines from Terminal 3, and eventually all Star Alliance airlines.