Star Alliance carriers, Aer Lingus flights and Virgin Atlantic’s domestic services will operate from the new £2.5 billion Heathrow Terminal 2 when it opens in 2014.

The airline moves will enable the early closure of Terminal 1 which would allow all passengers to travel through new or refurbished terminals from 2016, according to the airport.

Star Alliance airlines currently operate from Terminals 1, 2 and 3 while Aer Lingus operates from Terminal 1. Virgin’s new domestic flights will initially run from Terminal 1 from March next year before shifting to Terminal 2.

Virgin Atlantic’s long-haul flights will continue to operate from Terminal 3. Heathrow pledged to work with the airline on how its services might be co-located in the future.

An airport spokesman said: “Heathrow is still in discussion with those airlines which currently operate from Terminal 1 and are not members of the Star Alliance (El Al, Icelandair, Cyprus Airways, Germanwings and Transaero), about their future location when Terminal 1 closes. We expect to conclude these discussions in early 2013.”

The decision on which airlines will operate from the terminal follows a nine-month consultation which was prompted by the sale of Bmi to British Airways’ parent IAG.

Heathrow is required to treat all airlines equitably, and 18 separate options for the new terminal were considered and assessed against agreed criteria, the airport’s owner said.

The new Terminal 2 is the latest phase of an £11 billion transformation of Heathrow.

As many as 20 million passengers a year will eventually use the new facility, which consists of a main terminal building plus satellite building and aircraft parking stands.

The development is claimed to be the largest privately-funded construction project in the UK.

Heathrow development director John Holland-Kaye said: “Terminal 2 will offer a significant improvement for passengers travelling through Heathrow.

“Providing all airlines and their passengers with great facilities is a key part of our vision for Heathrow. Terminal 5 was recently voted by passengers as the best airport terminal in the world and the opening of Terminal 2 will mark another major step forward.”