Airport staff assess ‘hardened security measures’ before opening upto up to 77,000 passengers a day, more than any other airport in Europe
London Heathrow airport has reopened two terminals to passengers arriving from several countries on the security watchlist amid heightened terrorist fears.
The airport said it is prepared to process up to 77,000 passengers each day, more than any other European airport, based on the security conditions the government outlined earlier this month.
The reinstatement of two of Heathrow’s three passenger terminals will bring the figure above the full reach of passenger transport restrictions in place at Paris Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, Amsterdam’s Schiphol and Glasgow airports, all of which handle over 100,000 travellers a day.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Following the detailed analysis of the government’s new measures, we are safe to reintroduce two of Heathrow’s three terminals to passengers arriving from impacted countries. This will be progressively implemented over the coming days and remains subject to further review by security staff.
“Once implemented, we anticipate that 77,000 passengers each day, compared with 70,000 before the restrictions were introduced, will still pass through security with the use of more than 2,500 dedicated screening lanes.
“In order to ensure security is fully maintained, we are reconfiguring terminal infrastructure and using additional mobile screening machines. We encourage travellers to arrive earlier for their flight to provide time for increased screening or go through the automated border checks points that will be available at UK airports.”
The security measures proposed by the government will limit direct flights from six of the world’s most at-risk countries – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – to only certain airport terminals.
The Daily Telegraph reported that an earlier plan to ban flights for two years to the entirety of the six targeted countries – a move which would have affected Heathrow’s three terminals – had been abandoned, with the authorities recognising the impact it would have on passengers coming in and out of the UK.
A UK official told the newspaper: “Security will not be compromised at a single airport. The countries in the critical list are very close to UK shores. A long ban would have a knock-on effect for people coming in from outside the European Union. The best way to fight terrorism is to allow people from inside to come to Britain.”