2012-08-10 — /travelprnews.com/ — Heathrow is ready to wave off athletes in style on one of the most challenging and high-profile days in its history following the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The airport will introduce a completely new departures process on Monday 13th August including check-in and bag-drop at the Olympic Village and a special Games Terminal at Heathrow.
· Specially constructed Games Terminal starts three days of operations on Monday
· Celebration continues at the airport with secret London-themed send-off
· 8,000 athletes expected through Games Terminal over three days
· Volunteers will form ‘guard of honour’ to cheer athletes into each terminal
Heathrow is ready to wave off athletes in style on one of the most challenging and high-profile days in its history following the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The airport will introduce a completely new departures process on Monday 13th August including check-in and bag-drop at the Olympic Village and a special Games Terminal at Heathrow.
Heathrow has been proud to play its part in a successful London Olympics, with thousands of athletes, spectators and Olympic officials receiving the warmest of welcomes as they arrived in London. An army of pink-suited volunteers greeted them with smiles whilst the increased immigration staffing put in place by Border Force saw minimal queues as people entered the UK. As a result passengers rated their arrival at Heathrow during July as the best ever, with the airport’s monthly customer satisfaction survey achieving it highest all-time score.
Athletes are expected to depart with more than three bags per person, including outsize sporting equipment. To make departures easier and to cope with the large number of bags, athletes will be invited to use check-in facilities located in the basement of each Olympic Village accommodation block on Sunday. Their bags will then travel to Heathrow and be processed through the baggage system overnight to relieve the pressure on the airport the following day.
Athletes will arrive at the Games Terminal on Monday by coach, where they will be treated to a special London-themed send-off, the details of which are a closely guarded secret. The temporary terminal is part of Heathrow’s £20 million investment in handling London 2012 passengers. Equivalent in size to three Olympic swimming pools, the terminal has 31 check-in desks and seven security lanes to help deal with the high number of departures. Monday is expected to be the terminal’s busiest day of operation, with around 5,000 departing athletes. After three days of operation the terminal will be decommissioned and the site returned to its original use as a staff car park.
No aircraft depart from the Games Terminal. Instead, athletes will take an airside coach to their final departure point where they’ll be able to mingle with regular passengers as they wait for their flight. Athletes will be clapped into each terminal by a ‘guard of honour’ made up of Heathrow volunteers as we wish them luck in their future sporting endeavours.
Regular passengers should check-in through their normal terminal three-hours before scheduled departure for long-haul flights and two-hours before scheduled departure time for European flights. They can expect a normal journey and should not have to wait any longer than usual, but they might be lucky enough to spot some of the heroes of the 2012 Games in their departure lounge.
Colin Matthews, Chief Executive of BAA, said
“Heathrow is proud of the part we have played in making London 2012 a success. We hope that Olympic athletes, spectators and officials enjoyed a great welcome to London.
“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.”
Notes to editors:
13 August is the biggest single day for Games departures or arrivals. We are expecting to see around 15,000 members of the Olympic family depart on 13 August, of which around 6,000 will be athletes. Only athletes will go through the Games Terminal. Officials, media and sponsors will depart through Heathrow’s regular terminals.
The latest forecast is for a total of 116,000 people to depart from Heathrow on Monday 13th August. This compares to around 95,000 departing passengers on an average day. The record for departing passengers is 123,000 set on 29th July 2011.
Heathrow has spent seven years preparing for the Games and has consulted with previous host airports such as Sydney, Athens, Beijing and Vancouver. 80 per cent of all Games visitors are expected to pass through Heathrow.
BAA has independently invested around £20million as part of its preparations for the Games, including:
• The construction of a dedicated Games Terminal for athletes departing after the Olympic Games. Equivalent in size to three Olympic swimming pools, the terminal has 31 check-in desks and seven security lanes to help deal with the high number of departures.
• Providing 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;
Making multilingual staff available for arriving and departing passengers
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