Surprise, surprise: Heathrow named London 2012 airport

Tomorrow in one year will be London Heathrow’s busiest day in its history. That day, the 13th August 2012 is the day after the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games. Unsurprisingly today now Heathrow (IATA: LHR; LD hub page) was announced as “host airport” of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It is estimated that Heathrow will welcome almost 80% of all Games passengers, including athletes, officials, sponsors, media and spectators. The Games will be a unique operational challenge for Heathrow. 218,000 bags are expected to leave the airport after the spectacle, compared to 160,000 on the previous busiest day of the airport. Around 15% of the bags will be oversize sporting equipment such as canoes, pole vaults or bikes which cannot be processed through normal baggage systems.

In the official press release, LOCOG Commercial Director Chris Townsend said, ’For many athletes, officials and spectators, their first experience of London and the UK will be Heathrow. I’m delighted that BAA and the airport are committed to ensuring that first impression will reflect London 2012 in terms of branding but crucially by providing the warmest of welcomes to the city.’

And BAA Chief Executive Colin Matthews said, ‘We are tremendously proud to be the host airport of the London 2012 Games. Heathrow will be the first and last impression of the London 2012 Games for thousands of people. London 2012 will be Heathrow’s greatest challenge. Every part of the airport is working together so we can give the world’s greatest athletes the world’s greatest welcome.

[Photo from BAA – all rights reserved]