Heathrow copes with busiest day for Olympic arrivals | travel | Hindustan Times
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Heathrow copes with busiest day for Olympic arrivals

travel Updated: Jul 26, 2012 14:46 IST
AFP
AFP
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London's Heathrow Airport coped with its busiest day so far for Olympic arrivals on Tuesday -- with American sprint legend Carl Lewis praising the under-pressure hub after jetting in.

Nine-time Olympic gold-medal winner Lewis touched down at Terminal 4 after jetting in from New Jersey to attend various Games events with his family alongside promotional work for a US sportswear firm.

"I'm very impressed so far -- it seems to be working smoothly," the 51-year-old former sprinter and long jumper told AFP.

Operator BAA said they expected around 1,200 athletes to jet in as part of more than 3,700 Games-related arrivals for the Olympics which begin on Friday.

In total, Heathrow was expecting to handle around 217,000 passengers on Tuesday, including 99,000 arrivals, BAA said.

The airport to the west of London is expected to handle 80 percent of so-called 'Games Family' arrivals, including athletes, coaches, officials and accredited media.

"We are happy with the way things have been going," a BAA spokesman said.

"There are no delays of more than five to six minutes on immigration so we're meeting our targets."

Caterina Bosetti, an 18-year-old member of the Italian women's volleyball team, was also left with a good first impression of London on her first visit to the British capital.

"It was good coming through the airport, not too busy -- and not as many people as Fiumicino" airport in Rome.

Around midday, Heathrow's own 'How Are We Performing' screens claimed to have achieved all their targets for processing passenger arrivals through immigration across terminals 1 to 4.

Shah Khalish, 26, had flown in from Detroit, Michigan, for the Games with his friends Patrick Yousif, 29, and Jonathan Sturgill, 28, from San Diego.

The three friends said they had tickets for the tennis starting at Wimbledon in southwest London on Saturday, and for the USA and France in the men's basketball at the Olympic Park.

"We've got tickets for the basketball and the tennis -- I'm here to see Roger Federer," Khalish told AFP.

"We'd like to see some track and field too -- maybe watch Usain Bolt!" he added hopefully.

Heathrow is bracing for a strike by border officials on Thursday, the eve of the Olympics, but the Home Office is seeking an injunction to block the action.