Airport International News - August 2012
Heathrow Prepares for Olympic Departures
Posted by Victoria Knowles - Airport International Reporter on 13/08/2012 - 05:30:00
After the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games yesterday, London’s airports are preparing for a mass departure of visitors from the UK. From today, Heathrow is expecting to see 120,000 passengers departing, whilst another 70,000 will leave from Gatwick.
A temporary terminal has been built in Heathrow to help process the departure of 8,000 athletes, a £20 million investment to ease congestion during the games.
Seven security lanes and 31 check-in desks have been established in the terminal to help with the large number of departures. Today is expected to be Heathrow’s busiest day, with 15,000 athletes and officials travelling to the Games terminal.
Heathrow Olympic Departures
Head of Olympic and Paralympic planning at Heathrow, Nick Cole, said: "Our forecasts originally expected us to see 138,000 departing passengers. That forecast has come down significantly, and we did deliberately over-plan.
"It'll be about 30% busier than an average day here at Heathrow, so it's still going to be a very busy day, very challenging for us."
Total figures for Monday are estimated at 116,000, compared to an average 95,000 passengers on a regular day. Their record is 123,000, departing last year on July 29th.
Athletes are anticipated to bring more than three bags each, containing heavy sports equipment. A spokeswoman for Gatwick said that this is one of the challenges presented, but they are used to an influx of passenger during the summer period.
Heathrow Games Terminal
She added: "We believe our work with Locog and the Department for Transport over the last two years will mean we're well prepared." Extra staff will be on duty till Wednesday, after which the Heathrow terminal will be retired.
BAA’s chief executive Colin Matthews said that the airport coped well with Olympic arrivals last month, and is optimistic about the challenge: "Olympic departures present a fresh challenge with new facilities like the Games terminal being used for the first time. We have been preparing for seven years to deliver a farewell of which the whole country can be proud.”
Passengers using these airports during the period can expect a regular waiting time of 3 hours for international flights and 2 hours for European trips, but “they might be lucky enough to spot some of the heroes of the 2012 Games in their departure lounge."
Image Copyright Heathrow Airport
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