Night flights also part of the plan to lessen 2012 Games congestion
HEATHROW airport is to get up to 475 new passport checkers as part of the effort to reduce queues at immigration desks during the London Olympics, the UK Border Force said today.
The extra Border Force staff are to be recruited from other government departments on a voluntary basis and will get some training before being let loose on passport machines and are then to be mentored by permanent employees.
"We have got enough staff coming in to man our desks through the seven-week period," said Marc Owen, Heathrow director of the UK Border Force.
Congestion at the airport expected to take 80% of Olympic tourists could also be managed by extending Heathrow's operating hours into the night, officials have confirmed.
"We would operate into the night as little as we could to get everyone on their way, but only for the Olympics," one spokesperson told The Guardian.
Olympic athletes and officials won't have to worry about the queues as they are to be let in to the country via a special immigration section featuring 31 dedicated security desks.
Heathrow managers predict that the busiest day of the Olympic period will be 13 August, the day after the closing ceremony, when 137,800 people are set to fly out of London, carrying 200,000 bits of luggage against an average day's haul of 150,000.
Once that's all out of the way, there's then the little matter of the queues at Heathrow for the rest of the year.