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SBD/May 2, 2012/Olympics
London Games' Impact On U.K. Economy Expected To Be Short-Lived
Published May 2, 2012
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DO IT, DO IT NOW: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Thomson & Guevarra write cuts in U.K. government spending "have strained planning for the Summer Olympics in one key respect: Staffing shortages at Heathrow Airport have made entering the country a longer ordeal." Official figures show U.K. immigration checks "now take as long as 90 minutes, but Heathrow passengers have reported waits of two hours or longer." The government is "intervening to fix the problem before the world's busiest international airport will have to absorb an estimated 600,000 overseas visitors in July, ... a task it must accomplish with a shortage of immigration officers" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/2). In London, Ashling O’Connor asked, "Surely no-one can look at the queues at passport control at Heathrow airport of late and claim that the terminals will cope with the influx of visitors during the Olympics?" The situation has been "building for months but is reaching crisis point as passengers complain of waiting times of as long as three hours at an airport that claims to be first-world." O'Connor: "Whatever it takes, it needs to be addressed before July unless London Olympic organisers want to set the wrong tone for the Games. All they need is for overseas visitors, including journalists, to be held in a two-hour queue even before they get stuck in London traffic. It could be a calamity they never overcome even if the rest of the fortnight goes without a hitch" (THETIMES.co.uk, 5/1).