Heathrow Terminal 5 opens for business

Heathrow’s Terminal 5 opened for business today with the first flight touching down from Hong Kong eight minutes early.

Under the command of British Airway’s first woman pilot Captain Lynn Barton, the flight landed at 4.42am. It was the first of 380 aircraft due to use the terminal on its first day.

The first departure from the £4.3bn facility was a service to Paris at 6.20am.

Despite talk of passengers clearing check-in and security in ten minutes, long queues are reported to have built up. Passengers are also experiencing problems collecting their bags.

Passenger Mike Salinger, who arrived from Hong Kong on the second flight into Terminal 5, told the Press Association: “It took an hour from the time we landed for our bags to come through.”

BAA plans to start moving other carriers to Terminals 1, 3 and 4, where they will be grouped according to airline alliances. Terminal 2 will then be demolished, to pave the way for a new facility – Heathrow East – which BAA hopes will be ready in time for the London Olympics in 2012.

The airport operator postponed plans to fingerprint domestic passengers after data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner launched an investigation into whether it breached privacy laws. Photo identification will be used in the meantime.

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