Primary structural work has been completed on Heathrow airport’s forthcoming Terminal 2.

Officials from the BAA, the airport’s Spanish-owned operating firm, said this week that a topping out ceremony would mark the completion of the work on the £2.5 billion facility, which is slated to open for business in 2014. The improvement on Europe’s busiest airport is part of a £4.3 billion scheme that will enable the facility to handle 20 million passengers each year.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of the BAA, said in a statement that although there was still much to do on the new terminal that the completion of the main structure puts his organisation “within touching distance” of a time in which Heathrow will boast some of Europe’s best airport facilities.

Similarly, transport secretary Justine Greening said to reporters that Britain wanted to make clear that it was working to improve passenger experience in airports. She added that Terminal 2 was also a “success story” for the local construction industry, noting that it would feature state-of-the-art craftsmanship with British-made steel and engineering.

The new terminal will replace the airport’s original Terminal 2, which was designed to handle only about 1.2 million travellers annually upon its opening in 1955 but saw 10 million passengers in 2009 before being decommissioned and demolished the following year.