Heathrow Airport ‘may not cope during London Olympics’

Posted: April 11, 2012 in Aviation & Airports (General News), Heathrow
Tags: , , , , ,

Heathrow Airport may struggle to cope with extra passengers arriving during the London Olympics, MPs have warned.

"Not enough thought seemed to have been given to ways of coping with long queues at immigration"

"Not enough thought seemed to have been given to ways of coping with long queues at immigration"

Culture Select Committee chairman John Whittingdale said not enough thought seemed to have been given to ways of coping with long queues at immigration.

He said the UK Border Agency had suggested it had insufficient money to open all of its passport stations. The now separate Border Force said it was “well-prepared… with additional staff available for busy periods”. Mr Whittingdale outlined the committee’s concerns in a letter to Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

He said two members, Therese Coffey and Gerry Sutcliffe, had attended a briefing by Heathrow operator BAA and gathered that it saw the departure of large numbers of spectators and athletes at the end of the Games as the biggest challenge.

But Mr Whittingdale said the MPs “did not leave the briefing confident that Heathrow was ready to cope with the arrival of a huge number of competitors, Olympic family and visiting tourists in timely fashion”.

The letter went on: “We understand that significant preparations have been made to accommodate unusual sporting equipment, special lanes for the Olympic family, welcoming arrangements for competitors and additional Olympic ambassadors.

“However, far less thought seems to have been given to the issue of how to deal with long queues at immigration.

“The UKBA (UK Border Agency) representative suggested that there was insufficient funding to ensure all passport stations would be open.”

Mr Whittingdale continued: “While visiting tourists will understand that the Olympics is a busy time, if the wait (at immigration) is in excess of an hour it may deter tourists from returning.

Full story at BBC News….


BBC News
11 April 2012


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