Heathrow to open new Olympics terminal

Stefan Rousseau/PA

Heathrow Airport has announced it will open a temporary Games Terminal to help handle the "massive challenge" of the Olympics.

The huge tasks include coping with the 80% of Olympics and Paralympics visitors due at the host airport, and safely collecting and delivering almost 1,000 competitors' firearms to the shooting competition venue in Woolwich.

Airport owner BAA said it was spending more than £20m on the Games, none of which was public funds, according to a report by BBC News today.

A special temporary departures terminal is being built to cope with the day after the Olympics closes - 13 August – which is expected to be Heathrow's busiest day ever.

Construction of the terminal will begin in February in an area currently used for staff car parking on the south side of the airport. Heathrow said the terminal would operate on 13-15 August and is expected to divert up to 10,100 people and 37,900 bags from other terminals.

Competitor firearms
The BBC reports that a Heathrow preparations document said The UK Border Agency (UKBA) had set up a special customs system to deal with the hundreds of firearms expected to be brought in by Games athletes.

The Olympics will see 780 firearms brought in by 390 athletes, and the Paralympics will have 140 athletes with 200 firearms.

The shooting competition venue is at the Royal Artillery Barracks on the edge of Woolwich Common, in south-east London.

Warm welcome
In addition to the temporary terminal, the £20m 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 said it did not believe the Games presented a higher security risk but it was recruiting 250 security staff "in part to give us more resilience during this summer".

It said UKBA would be able to use dedicated immigration lanes for the arrival of accredited Games Family members, athletes, coaches, officials, accredited media and other individuals.

Heathrow will test its procedures and the airport has 50 full-time staff working on its Olympic programme and that was likely to "increase significantly" as the Games approached
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