Welcome hosts to be given a regular slot at Heathrow

Unpaid welcome hosts will become a regular feature at Heathrow, the airport's owner has revealed.

Andy Garner, of the BAA, told the Transport Select Committee that the campaign to recruit 1,000 volunteers for the Olympics has been so successful that the airport will continue to deploy unpaid staff at peak times such as Christmas, Easter and the school summer holidays.

BAA sought volunteers with the promise of "an opportunity to make new friends, contacts and networks, enhance CVs and build skills".

During the Games they will greet members of the "Olympic family" and help other passengers find their way around Europe's biggest airport.

Heathrow is emulating the flourishing volunteer programmes at the airports at Calgary in Canada and Auckland in New Zealand, where they are known respectively as White Hats and Bluecoats. At Heathrow, they will wear pink polo shirts. They are officially described as "Team Heathrow".

Mr Garner told the committee the airport is likely to handle 80 per cent of all the Games traffic coming to the UK. He said that while Heathrow was prepared, weather could pose problems because of the lack of slack in the system: "Our one outstanding concern is that we lose airspace capacity due to thunderstorms or winds."

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