Posted by: olymponomics | April 15, 2012

Coping with peak service volume at mega-events

Warnings about the lack of capacity of London’s Heathrow Airport to cope with the influx of Olympic visitors will not be a surprise to seasoned Games observers. Ahead of the Sydney Olympics there were problems with the power supply to the air traffic control tower at Kingsford Smith Airport and its baggage handling system that led to predictions of impending chaos ahead of the Games. The anticipated pressure on Heathrow’s  immigration controls comes on top of the recent controversy over the UK Border Agency’s relaxing of controls during peak periods. While long queues at immigration controls pose quite minor health and safety risks, the potential for reputational damage is far greater. These routine processes can pose a major headache for the organisation of mega-events. On opening night of the UK’s Millennium Dome, a problem with the ticketing system left several thousand people queuing for hours in the cold at Stratford Tube Station in London, leading one organizer to lament that “It could not have gone more wrong without loss of life.” It did not help that a substantial media contingent were included among the stranded guests. Special measures have been formulated to ensure similar problems do not occur with VIPs for the opening ceremony of London 2012.

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