Independent - Simon Calder

Plane Talk: The ‘Cinderella’ facility at the UK’s busiest airport has an uncertain future

Last week Gatwick airport announced that its currently closed South Terminal will open on 27 March. Which prompted me to consider what might happen to Heathrow Terminal 4, mothballed for nearly two years.

A bit of background. “T4” opened in 1986 as something of a messy, stop-gap measure. The structure allowed Britain’s busiest airport to expand while the most interminable planning dispute in history unfolded.

Building what is now Terminal 5 was the main prize for Heathrow, but the project was extremely controversial due to the substantial increase in traffic that it heralded. Almost 20 years elapsed between the start of the planning process and T5’s eventual opening in 2008.

In contrast, filling some space adjoining the southern runway with a smaller terminal was relatively straightforward.

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