London Heathrow airport has announced that it has received its first arrivals of international passengers for the 2012 London Olympics Games.
London’s largest airport is expected to handle a total of 236,955 passengers for the Olympics Games to be held later this month, breaking its earlier record of 233,562, set on July 31, last year.
Earlier, the UK government implemented plans to include around 500 extra Border Force staff at airports during the Olympics, to reduce the long queues that have previously formed at immigration desks, and which were a potential cause of annoyance to visitors from overseas.
The airport expects July 24, 2012 to be the busiest day for arriving athletes, when around 1,262 athletes and coaches, and 3,008 other Olympics-related travellers are expected to arrive in the UK.
Nick Cole, the head of Olympic and Paralympic planning at BAA Ltd, the owner and operator of six British airports including Heathrow, said, ‘Today heralds the start of Britain’s biggest peacetime transport challenge and Heathrow’s busiest ever period.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games are a marathon, not a sprint, for Heathrow.
The airport has some major challenges ahead, including unprecedented numbers of departing Olympics passengers and bags on August 13 and Paralympic arrivals and departures in August and September.’
The airport has also arranged for around 500 Heathrow and London Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOCOG), volunteers, who will be able to converse in around 20 languages, to welcome groups of Olympic athletes and officials for the world’s biggest sporting event.
The airport is manning London 2012 accreditation desks in each terminal, to allow the family members of Games athletes to collect their accreditation for the Olympic Village on arrival.
London 2012 coaches have also commenced operation from the airport to the Olympic Village, to serve the arriving participants.