2012 Olympics - a marathon for London's Heathrow Airport
The largest airport in Europe and the third in the world, London's Heathrow Airport, was, is and will be subject to huge passenger traffic during this time. The 2012 Olympic Games, the 27 July-12 August, will begin in a few minutes, being considered the largest sporting event on the planet.
At the 2012 Olympic Games edition, athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees are expected to attend. 10 500 athletes will practice 26 summer sports in 302 sports events.
Most of the official delegations, but also a large part of the supporters and tourists will arrive by plane to the Olympic Capital 2012 - London, and about 80% of them will go through Heathrow. 16 July was the day when the first athletes (more specifically 332) arrived with the officials of the respective Olympic committees (more precisely 1027). 24 July was the busiest day, when 1 262 athletes and 3 008 officials and coaches arrived.
But on 16 July, Heathrow Airport in London broke a personal record, being passed by 236 955 passengers, with 3000 more than 31 July 2011.
Over 500 volunteers met the athletes at the airport, who spoke over 20 languages and had the role of directing the Olympic delegations to the Olympic Village.
Airport staff has been supplemented to meet new arrivals, including luggage staff. Athletes travel on average with about twice as much luggage as an average passenger. Plus, 15% of them mean big items - canoes, bikes, spears, weapons and competition ammo, etc.
The number of law enforcement and border forces was supplemented. Many passengers from non-EURO areas are expected.
The 2012 Olympics is a marathon and not a sprint for Heathrow Airport. It will be the biggest challenge of peace time transport. It took 7 years of preparation for these times, during which time London officials were interested in former host airports, such as Sydney, Athens and Beijing airports.
Over 20 millions of pounds have been invested for the construction of a special Olympic terminal, for the installation of special lifts for wheelchair paralympic athletes, for training over 1000 of volunteers to meet these delegations and for supplementing the airport staff.