Aug 12, 2011 at 02:17 PM
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London 2012 Lands 42nd Domestic Sponsor

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has announced that Heathrow Airport will be an an official supplier to the London 2012 Olympic Games in a Tier 3 sponsorship deal. Nearly 80% of the Games' traffic will originate from Heathrow so the competition for this designation must have been pretty fierce.

Why would an airport, which is expected to see its largest traffic ever as a result of the Games whether it's a sponsor or not, go the extra step to become an official Tier 3 partner? Take a minute to consider the value-in-kind the airport will need to offer just to meet the strain of the Olympics. In exchange for staffing up the airport to accommodate the games with up to 1,000 new volunteers, London 2012 will offer Heathrow meet-n-greets, exclusive Olympic merchandise and the official supplier designation. In addition, the two parties will have to work closely together to develop new solutions that meet the unprecedented demand created by the Games.

Consider that around 15% of the 218,000 bags that come through the airport on its busiest day will be outsize sporting equipment such as canoes, pole vaults or bikes which cannot be processed through normal baggage systems, and you start to understand the logistical strain that the Olympics games will put on the airport. Options being considered to manage the extra demand include baggage drop facilities at the Olympic village and constructing a temporary ‘Olympic terminal’ which would be taken down after the Games.

“For many athletes, officials and spectators, their first experience of London and the UK will be Heathrow," LOCOG Commercial Director Chris Townsend said. "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.”

"Heathrow will be the first and last impression of the London 2012 Games for thousands of people," BAA Chief Executive Colin Matthews said. “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."

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