Heathrow prepares for 'busiest day'
The day after the Olympic closing ceremony - August 13 - is set to be the busiest 24 hours in Heathrow Airport's history.
Workers at the UK's largest airport will have to deal with 35% more departing baggage than on a normal day, according to Heathrow forecasts. This is around 203,000 items up from 150,000.
Executives are expecting a 45% jump in departing passengers on this day, to around 138,000 from 95,000, in comparison to a normal day.
The same increases are also forecast for the numbers of arriving passengers on July 26, the day before the Olympic opening ceremony.
BAA, which owns six UK airports including Heathrow, expects its net costs surrounding London 2012 to top £20 million in order to manage the extra demand and challenges of the Games at Heathrow.
Athletes will get their own dedicated Games terminal which is set to open on August 13-15. It is being geared up for use by 10,100 departing athletes and to offer bag collection from the Olympic and Paralympic Village. Extra lifts are also being built to link Paralympians who use wheelchairs with their equipment.
Up to 50 full-time staff are working on a dedicated team preparing Heathrow for the Games. This number is set to spike in the run-up to the Games, including 1,000 volunteers.
Nick Cole, Heathrow's head of Olympic and Paralympic planning, described the London 2012 Games as "a unique operational task and a massive challenge".
He noted: "The airport is one of the most popular international airports in the world and already operates close to capacity. Every part of the airport is working together to ensure we can give the athletes a warm welcome and ensure all passengers enjoy the atmosphere."
An estimated 59,450 passengers are expected at Heathrow for the Olympics, including 12,850 athletes and 14,700 media who have been accredited by London 2012.