LONDON, England – August 13 is likely to be Heathrow Airport’s busiest day in its history, so the airport is building a temporary terminal to check through more than 10,000 athletes on that one day, the day after the closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Games.
With 80% of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, coaches, media and other visitors expected to use Heathrow during the games, the world’s busiest international airport unveiled the design of a temporary terminal to be used just for departures.
“The airport … already operates close to capacity,” said Nick Cole, the head of Heathrow’s Olympics planning team. “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.”
London has had a relatively smooth seven years of planning and building venues. The one big worry for organizers and the city is transport.
There are plans to limit car traffic while creating special Olympics-only traffic lanes. Officials have also asked companies to find ways to keep some employees out of central London and off the busy transport networks during July and August.
In recent years, Heathrow has suffered from baggage snafus, snow disruptions and strikes.
To help get people out of London after the games, Heathrow will allow athletes to check their luggage at the Olympic Village east of the city.
Heathrow expects a 35% increase in baggage on August 13.
Departure will not be the only challenge. The airport expects nearly 50% more passengers arriving on July 26, the day before the opening ceremony.
That includes 390 athletes bringing in 780 firearms, says Heathrow.