Travellers arriving at Heathrow are likely to face lengthily queues during the upcoming London 2012 Olympics.

Airport news for Heathrow,Olympics on 05/01/2012.

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Officials from the UK Border Agency say that fewer immigration officers will be available to work at the busy airport’s normal checkpoints, as many are being temporarily re-assigned to collect biometric information off athletes arriving in special VIP checkpoint lanes.

The agency has asked athletes and coaches to supply photographs, fingerprints and other biometric data to immigration in advance, but this is not a requirement and those not having done so will have the information collected by immigration officers upon arrival. The Border Agency uses this information to check for criminals and terror suspects on a watch-list in stored in computer databases.

Meanwhile, officials said that the £2 million change in procedure could lead to lengthier queues. A policy document issued by the agency said that passengers are likely to face “unduly” delays.

The news comes after the announcement of the ‘athletes only’ terminal, which will be open only for athletes, coaches and some Olympic staff for just one key day end of the event in the effort of sending a large majority of Olympic personnel home with minimal impact on other airport users.

Colin Matthews, the BAA’s chief executive, said to reporters that handling Olympic traffic was the company’s “greatest challenge” yet, noting that Heathrow airport would be the first and last impressions of the British capital for thousands of people.

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