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Heathrow Terminal 5 ready for royal opening

Her Majesty The Queen officially opens Heathrow Airport's stunning £4.3bn Terminal 5 at lunchtime today, 53 years after opening the airport's first passenger terminal in 1955.

Built on time and on budget, the terminal will open for business for up to 30 million passengers a year on 27 March.

The Queen will be initially greeted by hundreds of airport and construction workers in front of a backdrop of giant screens depicting heroic shots celebrating the construction of Terminal 5.

Some 60,000 people have worked a total of 100 million man hours to build Terminal 5 since construction work began in September 2002.

The project team has successfully erected the UK's biggest free-standing building; moved the 900t top cab of a new 87m high control tower 2km across the airfield; tunnelled over 13km for rail and baggage links; diverted two rivers; and installed over 30,000 square metres of glass building facades.

All Terminal 5's footprint is contained within a former sludge works at the western end of the existing airport, situated between the two runways and adjacent to the M25.

The Terminal 5 complex features 60 aircraft stands; two satellite buildings (the second of which will be completed by 2010); rail links to the Tube and the Heathrow Express; and a new 3,800 space multi-storey car park. In addition a new spur road has been constructed linking the terminal to the M25.

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