Preparing Heathrow Airport, airlines and handlers for the 2012 Games

o&i consulting was a supplier of airport arrival and departure operational planning services to the London 2012 Games.

The challenge

A key challenge for airports posed by the Olympic Games is managing the surges in passenger and baggage demand on peak days, in particular on the main departure day. The emphasis is on absolute preparedness to avoid negative impact on the operation and the airport’s reputation.

This means addressing all aspects of the operation, providing accurate capacity and resource planning, smooth processes and active management, robust security procedures, good passenger preparation and effective communication strategies for the end-to-end processes. To overcome capacity limiters airports have also employed strategies to complete some processing work in advance and therefore reduce the scale of the peak day task.

o&i consulting was successful in a competitive tender issued by Heathrow Airport to find a partner to provide specific Olympics subject matter expertise as well as any broader operational planning support required for The 2012 Games.

Our role

o&i consulting supported Heathrow Airport in providing a smooth, stress free arrivals and departures experience for thousands of Olympic and Paralympic passengers. Using our experience of supporting host airports at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympics, we provided operations planning, design, and operations management services to Heathrow Airport in the period leading up to and through the 2012 Games.

For a 16 month period, the o&i team worked in partnership with BAA, becoming fully integrated into BAA’s Olympic and Paralympic Planning team. We worked with multiple airport, airline and ground handler stakeholders as well as LOCOG (the London Olympic Games Organising Committee) to develop and test new baggage and passenger operating processes and create detailed operating plans for both the Games Terminal (a dedicated temporary terminal for the use of athletes and team officials) and the Athletes’ Village Remote Check-in Operations. Members of the o&i team also took on key roles in managing these operations.

o&i expertise on this project

  • Validation of passenger and baggage demand forecasts
  • Development of a surface access transport model, enabling scenario testing
  • Operating plan development
  • Baggage and terminal operations capacity solutions
  • Baggage and terminal operations process development
  • Process development for dedicated Games terminal facility
  • Process development for remote check-in operation at the Athletes’ Village
  • Process testing and operational readiness
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Operations management


Project Key Facts

Title: Preparing Heathrow Airport, airlines and handlers for the 2012 Games

Client: Heathrow Airport

Theme: Olympics