The Queen will cut the ribbon to officially declare the new Terminal 2 open on June 23, nearly 60 years after she opened the original terminal building, Heathrow has announced.

An invitation was accepted by Her Majesty who will be accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, to open the £2.5 billion terminal named in her honour.

Heathrow also unveiled British artist Richard Wilson's Slipstream on Wednesday (23) which is set to become one of the country's most viewed sculptures, seen by 20 million passengers a year at the Queen's Terminal.

Heathrow’s Development Director, John Holland-Kaye commented, “We are proud that Her Majesty The Queen has agreed to officially open Terminal 2 : The Queen's Terminal, the latest stage in Heathrow’s £11billion transformation.

"The new Terminal 2 stands on the site of the previous Queen’s Building, and the official opening on June 23 recognises the long association with Her Majesty The Queen.

"We are also very proud that the commission for Slipstream, which will be a feature of the new terminal, was won by distinguished British artist, Richard Wilson, working with a British architectural company, Price & Meyers, and an engineering company, CSI, based in Hull, all truly representing the best of modern Britain .”

Suspended 18 metres above ground, supported by four structural columns, weighing 77 tonnes and measuring 78 metres, the sculpture’s twisting aluminium form is inspired by the world of aviation and captures the imagined flight path of a small stunt plane.

British artist Richard Wilson's Slipstream unveiled on Wednesday (April 23) which is set to become one of the country's most viewed sculptures, seen by 20 million passengers a year at the Queen's Terminal.
 

For Mr Wilson, the work is a response to the artistic challenge of capturing movement and a metaphor for travel; it aims to capture velocity, acceleration and deceleration in its twists and turns.

Mr Wilson said: “After over two years of hard work I am delighted to see Slipstream finally unveiled in Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 : The Queen’s Terminal.

"Slipstream is my largest sculpture to date and I have enjoyed the challenge of working on such a monumental scale and also working alongside such inventive engineers to realise this work.

"Slipstream is a metaphor for travel, it is a time-based work that responds to its location and I feel honoured that Slipstream will go on to be seen by millions of visitors travelling to and from the UK each year”.

Terminal 2 will be home to 23 Star Alliance airlines as well as Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic Little Red and Germanwings carriers.

Mark Schwab, CEO Star Alliance said, “In June this year we will ring in a new era for our customers, member carriers and employees at London Heathrow.

"The purpose built Terminal 2 : The Queen’s Terminal - will be our home and will offer a superior travel experience to our customers, create new business opportunities for our member carriers and provide an improved working environment for employees.”

The old Terminal 2, opened by The Queen in 1955, was demolished after 54 years of service. It was Heathrow's first terminal, originally called the "Europa Building" and was designed to deal with 1.2 million passengers a year.

By the time it closed in 2009 it was handling 8 million passengers a year.

Passenger trials have been taking place at the new terminal to iron out any problems ahead of the arrival of its first passengers on June 4, 2014.