Friday, June 15, 2007

Terminal 5: Another 'temple' to retail

30 million passengers, 23,000 square metres of shops..... and just 700 seats.
Yes, folks, that's Heathrow's new Terminal 5, due to open on 27th March 2007.
"The new terminal may have been heralded as a 'cathedral to flight', but with the equivalent of six Asda stores, it is actually going to be a temple to retail' writes the Guardian's Julia Finch. Is anything built in monopoly capitalist Britain these days that isn't a 'temple to retail'? Last year my wife and I travelled through JFK airport in New York for the first time. After the horrors of Heathrow, it was a wonderful surprise to find an airport which actually put the needs of passengers- and not retailers- first. There were ample seats and the airport had a lovely spacious, unhurried atmosphere. The US is often accused of being the most commercially-minded, money-grabbing country in the world. But when it comes to the building of airport terminals, it's Britain, and not America, which holds that unwelcome distinction.

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