The Queen has declared Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 ready for business, hailing it "as a 21st Century gateway to Britain". It will open to passengers on 27 March.
The terminal was designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership (now Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners), and will be used exclusively by British Airways. Photo: BAA
The opening ceremony was attended by hundreds of airport and construction workers, many of whom had been involved in the major development.
The Queen congratulated the workers, saying they can be "rightly proud of the highly impressive building that embodies many achievements".
The royal visit came less than 24 hours after an intruder with a rucksack scaled the airport's perimeter fence and ran into the path of an aircraft, sparking a major security alert.
Construction has cost more than £4bn; the terminal took thousands of workers six years to build.
Terminal 5 consists of three buildings - the main terminal plus two satellites, Terminals 5B and 5C - linked by an automated transit system. (Photo: BAA)
The Concorde Room is available for first class passengers... (Photo: BAA)
...and includes private dining booths under the crystal chandeliers. (Photo: BAA)
The new terminal will accommodate 30 million passengers each year. BAA says the check-in process has been simplified and baggage dropping facilities made faster.