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Heathrow Games terminal pops up

posted 16 Mar 2012, 13:34 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 16 Mar 2012, 13:34 ]

Pop-up terminal at Heathrow to ease Olympic congestion with the airport's busiest day ever anticipated for the day after the London 2012 Games ends.

London has been experiencing a trend of pop up venues, restaurants, bars and art galleries, and now it has a pop up airport terminal.

The temporary terminal will only function for three days after the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony between August 13 and 15.

Contractors on Friday (March 16) fitted the final section of roof onto the white marquee-like structure that is Heathrow Airport's temporary Games Terminal.

Heathrow is set to handle approximately 80 percent of all Games passengers, and though athletes and officials are set to arrive in manageable numbers over several days, most will depart in one fell swoop.

To fast-track the mass exodus of 10,100 competing athletes and their 37,800 bags in the three days following the closing ceremony, the 70m x 55m "pop-up" terminal is being erected between Heathrow terminals Four and Five.

The terminal, soon to be fitted up with 31 check-in desks, seven security lanes, bag-drop facilities and toilets, will be finished by late June.

It will be staffed by up to 50 full-time workers and 1,000 meet-and-greet volunteers during this time. After Olympians pass through a ticket presentation and security area, regular buses will take them to their respective air-side departure terminal.

BAA, which owns six airports including Heathrow, estimates it will take 30 minutes for athletes to pass through the temporary terminal. Today BAA confirmed its Olympics operations - which include remote check-in facilities at the Olympic Village - will together cost 20 million pounds to implement.

BAA will urge athletes and team officials to check-in at the Village the night prior to their departure.

Nick Cole, head of Olympic and Paralympic planning for Heathrow, said they had to come up with a way to relieve pressure on the terminals for ordinary summer travellers.

"On the 13th of August we have a particular challenge, in that what we have got to do is process more bags and more passengers than we ever have in a single day at Heathrow departures. To give you an idea of scale, our busiest day ever has been 123,000 departing passengers. On the 13th of August we are intending to process 137,800 passengers and in terms of the bags, our busiest day to date has been 150,000 bags and on that day alone we need to process more than 203,000."

Heathrow, which runs at 99-percent-capacity on an average day, estimates every single seat on every aircraft will be full on August 13, something the airport has never seen before.

For international visitors to the London Games, Heathrow will be the first and last impression of the host country.

BAA are seeking to avoid a repeat of its opening week in March 2008 when a breakdown of its baggage handling equipment resulted in hundreds of flights cancelled.