Additional airlines will return to the facility over a phased period
Virgin Atlantic and its partner, Delta Air Lines, have announced they will relocate their operations at London/Heathrow from Terminal 2 back to Terminal 3 from July 15.
The facility has been closed for more than a year, alongside Terminal 4, in response to reduced passenger demand, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The reopening is seen as a big step in the recovery of air travel from the UK’s main hub.
The airport recently opened T4 as a dedicated arrivals facility for those coming from countries on the UK’s ‘red’ travel list, meaning that from July 15 all of Heathrow’s terminals will be operational again in some capacity.
Corneel Koster, Virgin Atlantic chief customer and operating officer, said: “We’re delighted to finally be back on our home turf, and I know our teams can’t wait to warmly welcome our customers to Terminal 3, as they return to the skies in style, as they fly safe and well with Virgin Atlantic.”
The airline also used the announcement to once again lobby the UK government to ease restrictions for more countries, stressing the importance of its connections with the US.
Virgin destinations such as Antigua, Barbados, Grenada and Israel are all on the government’s ‘green’ travel list and Delta Air Lines is operating some services between both Atlanta and New York/JFK to London, however, US entry restrictions for non-essential travellers are hampering efforts to introduce more services on the airline’s routes to and from North America.
Koster, commented: “Whilst it’s a constructive step that many of our customers can imminently enjoy our much-loved facilities the government still needs to recognise the US as a ‘green’ destination. Whilst travel between the UK and US is closed, £23 million in economic value each day is restricted. We urge the UK government to move the US to the UK’s ‘green list.”
The announcement on the reopening of T3 comes as Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye confirmed that the facility has recommenced two-runway operations this week, after only using a single runway since April 6, 2020.