Balfour Beatty to build £350m airport pier early so first phase of troubled terminal can open for 2012 Games

A £350m airport pier at Heathrow Airport could be repackaged to allow the airport to open part of its troubled East terminal on time, it has emerged.

The “midfield pier”, to be built by Balfour Beatty, could be brought forward and opened as the first phase of Heathrow East in time for the 2012 Olympics.

BAA has admitted that the main Heathrow East terminal, to be built by Laing O’Rourke and Ferrovial, has been hit by delays due to the problems surrounding the opening of Terminal 5.


Heathrow East will be built on the site of the current Terminals 1 and 2, which are due to be demolished. But due to its troubled opening, British Airways was late moving all of its operations from the existing terminals into Terminal 5, and the demolition has been put back as a result.

A BAA spokesperson denied media reports that the overall Heathrow East programme would be delayed for up to a year, but admitted that “elements of the programme are delayed.”

He said: “It isn’t a wholly sequential programme. The production design management is still continuing, and we have been able to work intensively on other parts of the scheme. We are very experienced in making up delays […] The aim is still to have at least part of the new terminal open by 2012”.

It is understood that the midfield pier, a freestanding building on the airport’s Eastern Campus, could be packaged as this “part” of Heathrow East, allowing BAA to keep its pledge to open the terminal in time for the Olympics.

A source said: “There are various options on the table. They are saying, if Heathrow East is not ready by the Olympics, what kind of resources do we have?”

The midfield pier is likely to be completed and operational in 2011. A BAA spokesperson said that it was “one of the main programmes at Heathrow East.”