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Heathrow unveils Olympic terminal

London’s Heathrow Airport has unveiled a new temporary terminal that will cater specifically for athletes and officials departing the London 2012 Olympic Games after the closing ceremony on 12 August 2012, BBC News has reported.

Construction of the terminal began in February and the building is now completely weatherproof. The terminal will enable Heathrow to handle more than 10,000 athletes and 37,000 bags without disrupting normal services at the rest of the airport on 13 August, which is expected to be the airport’s busiest ever day.

The terminal will include 31 check-in desks and seven security lanes, allowing athletes to pass through the facility in just 30 minutes, Andy Garner, BAA director for London 2012, told BBC News. Athletes will also be able to check in their luggage at the Olympic Village ahead of arriving at the airport.

Jonathan Edwards CBE, former Triple Jumper and Olympic, Commonwealth, European and World Champion, said the Olympics was the pinnacle of an athlete\'s career, adding, "We don't want anything to hinder their performance so it\'s crucial we get their whole experience, from arrival to departure, right."

According to BBC News, Heathrow says 27 June to 1 October will be its critical period –allowing time either side of the start of the Olympics and the end of the later Paralympic Games.

On its busiest expected days – 26 July and 13 August – it predicted passenger levels would increase from an estimated 95,000 on a usual day by 45% to 138,000.

Heathrow is expecting a 35% increase in baggage on 26 July and 13 August, with around 15% of the 200,000 items expected on those days likely to be oversized luggage such as sporting equipment.

According to airport owner BAA, more than £20 million (US$31.7 million) is being spent on the Games. In addition to the temporary terminal, the money will be spent on building lifts to handle Paralympians\' wheelchairs, providing extra media facilities, and recruiting and training 1,000 volunteers to meet and greet passengers arriving for the Games.

Heathrow is set to test its procedures in the coming weeks and the airport has 50 full-time staff working on its Olympic programme, with that number was likely to increase significantly as the Games approached, BBC News reported.

Read the story here: BBC News 

April 5, 2012


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