Symbolic figurehead helps inaugurate Heathrow’s new terminal

Yesterday Queen Elizabeth II helped celebrate the opening of Heathrow’s newest terminal, an $8.7 billion structure that is now the largest free-standing building in Britain. “My warmest congratulations go to everyone who has worked on this highly impressive building; it embodies many achievements of which you can be rightly proud,” she said.

The terminal will be used exclusively by British Airways, whose shareholders footed the bill for this massive project. Proponents of the airport expansion say that the new terminal, which will first be used by passengers on March 27, will allow passengers to move more quickly through check-in and security. Environmentalists and other critics of the project say the new terminal will lead to more flights and more pollution. Which, of course, it will.

In other news, British Airways says they’re modifying their security procedure to coincide with the introduction of the new terminal. Passengers who don’t arrive at the airport at least 35 minutes before their flight is scheduled to take off will be stopped at security checkpoints and forced to re-book, instead of being allowed to run for the gate Home-Alone-style.

More here.