According to the Daily Mail newspaper – which claims to have seen the documents – the influx of visitors to the UK ahead of and during the 2012 Games this summer will cause long queues and may cause hold-ups for non-Olympic passengers as arrivals connected to the Games are given priority.
A fast-track scheme for 25,000 athletes, officials and coaches will be at the expense of other travellers, according to the tabloid.
Heathrow is set to handle a massive 80 per cent of Olympics-related traffic. The collection of biometric data – including fingerprints – is particularly likely to cause delays, it is reported.
The policy documents read: “The collection of biometrics may result in [passengers being] unduly delayed passing through border control.
“Dedicated lanes and the time taken to collect the biometrics of GFM [Games Family Members] may result in delays to non-Olympic passenger journeys.”
Heathrow is not the only major transport hub to be affected by priority treatment for Olympics officials and VIPs. London’s road network is expected to come under significant pressure thanks to reserved lanes for chauffering officials and VIPs to Stratford, with everyday traffic forced to occupy the remaining space.
Passengers on Tube and bus services are also expected to rise by 25 per cent.
The worst day at Heathrow is expected to be August 13, the day after the closing ceremony. Around 218,000 bags are estimated to pass through the airport as the event leaves London.
But a Heathrow spokesman told the Mail that the airport would cope.
“Around 15 per cent of the bags will be outsize sporting equipment, such as canoes, vaulting poles or bikes, which cannot be processed through normal baggage systems,” he said.