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Officials say Heathrow immigration ready for Olympics

Posted on May 24, 2012
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The UK Border Force has said that it is ready for the imminent surge of passengers arriving for the London Olympics.

The comments come via UK Border Agency director Marc Owen, who addressed concerns regarding extensive queues at Heathrow airport in a press conference on Monday.

Passengers arriving at the west London facility have reportedly faced waiting times in excess of two and a half hours in recent weeks. As a result, home secretary Teresa May as well as the immigration minister have promised to push for relief ahead of the games.

Mr Owen said to reporters that his organisation was “ready” for the influx and that it would be employing hundreds of extra immigration officers to handle the situation. He also said during the media briefing that security measures would be fully and properly implemented despite the surge.

Similarly, Heathrow airport managers said that preparation efforts at the facility have been extensive, noting that the airport has spent some £20 million in foresight of the event. Heathrow’s Olympic and Paralympic planning head Nick Cole called the situation a “unique challenge” and said that around 80 per cent of people arriving for the Olympics would pass through the airport.

The largest challenge will be 13 August, the day following the closing ceremony, when more than 135,000 passengers and some 200,000 pieces of luggage are expected to pass through Heathrow.

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