Transport for London (TfL) confirmed the London Underground station serving the terminal had also been closed in a tweet which read: “Heathrow 123: Closed – This station is closed while we help the police respond to a security alert.” People who planned to use the airport have been advised to visit TfL’s website.
London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement the force was called at 10.47am to reports of an unattended bag at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport.
It added: “The area has been evacuated as a precaution. The item will be assessed by specialist officers.”
Images shared on social media show crowds of people outside the terminal with a number of police vehicles nearby.
Video footage shows travellers with suitcases and trollies milling around outside the flights hub.
“The area was evacuated as a precaution. The item was deemed not to be suspicious and the incident has been stood down. Thanks for your patience!”
Heathrow’s spokesperson said just before 1pm: “Our teams responded to a potential suspect item in Terminal 2 earlier today which has now been deemed not suspicious by the police. As a precaution, passengers were briefly evacuated while the authorities conducted the appropriate checks. We apologise to our passengers for any inconvenience caused.”
It also confirmed Terminal 2 has now fully reopened.
Travellers took to social media to share their views of the evacuation. Twitter user Clintonbaptweets quipped: “Heathrow T2 evacuated, lots of armed police and talk of a suspicious package… and there was me worried I should be there 3 hours before.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “Heathrow Terminal 2 Evacuated due to a security alert. From what I can pick up its landside, and anyone airside is being kept airside.
“The terminal 2/3 underground station is shut as well.”
News of the evacuations comes after German airline Lufthansa cancelled around 800 flights today – including dozens serving the UK – due to a pilots’ strike.
About 7,000 passengers booked on the carrier’s UK flights will be disrupted with all 34 of Lufthansa’s services connecting Heathrow with Frankfurt and Munich grounded in addition to 11 flights between Manchester and Germany.
Affected passengers are entitled to be flown to their final destination as soon as possible. They may also be entitled to compensation, as consumer groups do not believe cancellations due to strikes by airline employees fall under the “extraordinary circumstances” exemption.
Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), a trade union representing Lufthansa’s pilots, announced the walkout on Thursday (September 1) in a row over pay.
It accused bosses of failing to improve on their previous proposal.
Matthias Baier, a spokesman for the union, said: “Aware of our responsibility for companies and guests, we wanted to leave no stone unturned and offered another negotiation date despite an inadequate offer and failed negotiations. We did not receive a sufficient offer today either. This is sobering and a missed opportunity.
“The negotiations have failed. The only thing left for us to do is to reinforce our demands with a labour dispute.”
Lufthansa said it offered to raise pilots’ monthly base salaries by £777 (900 euros) and claimed the union’s demands “would increase payroll costs by more than 40 percent”.
The airline’s labour director Michael Niggemann said: “We cannot understand VC’s call for a strike.
“The management has made a very good and socially balanced offer – despite the continuing burdens of the Covid crisis and uncertain prospects for the global economy.
“This escalation comes at the expense of many thousands of customers.”