Heathrow Airport today announced the design of a special Games Terminal for athletes departing from the Olympic Games.
The terminal is part of wider plans published today setting out the role Heathrow will play in helping to deliver a successful London 2012 Games. The airport will be the first and last impression of the London 2012 Games for millions of visitors and 80 per cent of the Olympic and Paralympic Family.
The Games Terminal will be the departure point for 10,100 athletes and, along with bag collection from the Olympic and Paralympic Village, will help the airport to manage the huge increase in departing bags and passengers anticipated on the day after the closing ceremony. 13 August 2012 is expected to be the busiest day in the airport’s history, and Heathrow is forecasting 35 per cent more departing bags than on a normal day.
Nick Cole, Head of Olympic and Paralympic Planning at Heathrow said: “The London 2012 Games will be a unique operational task and a massive challenge for Heathrow. The airport is one of the most popular international airports in the world and already operates close to capacity. Every part of the airport is working together to ensure we can give the athletes a warm welcome and ensure all passengers enjoy the atmosphere.”
Colin Jackson, gold medal winning former British hurdler is supporting the work at Heathrow: “There is huge excitement when athletes arrive for the first time at the Olympic and
Paralympic Games. The atmosphere is electric and often the airport is the first time we see fans and feel the buzz of the weeks to come. I am impressed with how seriously Heathrow is taking its commitment to give everyone a smooth journey.”
Other challenges during the Games period include:
Disembarking large number of passengers with reduced mobility from aircraft
A 45 per cent increase from usual in arriving passengers on 26 July, the day before the Opening Ceremony
Keeping the flow of road traffic moving outside terminals with extra coaches for athletes
To prepare for the Games, Heathrow’s plans include:
Offering check-in and baggage collection at the Olympic and Paralympic Village;
Building extra lifts to reunite Paralympians with their wheelchairs on arrival;
Recruiting and training 1,000 volunteers to meet and greet passengers arriving for the Games and assisting all passengers on their journey;
Construction of a dedicated Games Terminal for athletes departing after the Olympic Games;
Making multilingual staff available for arriving and departing passengers;
Providing media facilities where journalists can file stories.
Fine tuning all our activities to perform at peak times is key. Heathrow is recruiting 1,000 Team Heathrow volunteers to help with special events over the next few months, including London 2012 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
In return they could be greeting athletes and VIPs, helping spectators find their way and managing fans waiting for a peek of their heroes. The next selection days are 27 and 28 January.
More details of Heathrow’s preparations can be found in the ‘six months to go’ document published today. The airport will also be decorated throughout to capture the excitement of the Games.