Heathrow has been confirmed as the ‘host airport’ of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
As a result, the UK’s busiest gateway is expected to handle 80% of the athletes, officials, sponsors and spectators that will descend on London for next year’s games.
Airport operator, BAA, has pledged to recruit 1,000 volunteers from the local community to help ensure the smooth flow of ‘Olympic’ traffic through the gateway.
It also admits that it is considering constructing a temporary ‘Olympic terminal’ for the duration of the Games which would be taken down after they are over.
Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said: “We are tremendously proud to be the host airport of the London 2012 Games. Heathrow will be the first and last impression of the London 2012 Games for thousands of people.
“London 2012 will be Heathrow’s greatest challenge. Every part of the airport is working together so we can give the world’s greatest athletes the world’s greatest welcome.”
The gateway said that London 2012 is destined to be a “unique operational challenge”, with the day after the closing ceremony set to be its busiest day ever.
Put in context, around 218,000 bags are expected to leave the airport the day after the even finshes – nearly 60,000 more than Heathrow has ever handled before in one day.
Furthermore, around 15% of the bags will be outsize sporting equipment such as canoes, pole vaults or bikes, which cannot be processed through normal baggage systems.