07/27/2012 07:07 am ET Updated Jul 27, 2012

London Olympics: Heathrow Does Some Heavy Lifting (INFOGRAPHICS)

Everyone's talking about the Olympics: Who will win what events? Will the Danny Boyle-directed opening ceremonies be that spectacular? But what of the first big hurdle: Getting passengers through Heathrow in an orderly fashion?

Heathrow planned how to handle the influx ahead of this week's Games for months. Volunteers were hired, baggage capabilities were checked and Olympic rings were assembled throughout the airport.

On July 16, London's Heathrow airport faced the "biggest peacetime transport challenge," welcoming some 236,955 passengers ahead of the Olympics, the AP reported.

In addition, roughly 45,000 media and sponsors were expected to fly through Heathrow to attend the Games. Simon Talling-Smith, British Airways’ Executive Vice President, told The Huffington Post that his airline would be carrying in roughly 100,000 people per day to attend athletic events.

"We have spent seven years' preparing for the Games challenge and we are pleased that so far Olympic athletes and regular passengers have experienced a smooth arrival into Heathrow," Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, which operates Heathrow, told HuffPost Travel."The Olympic and Paralympic Games are a marathon, not a sprint, for Heathrow. There are many more challenges to come including further Olympic arrivals, unprecedented numbers of departing passengers and bags on the day after the Olympic closing ceremony."

As if that wasn't enough of a hurdle, the airport also had to handle actual hurdles. As the top of athletes from 50 nations started descending on London, so did their equipment. Tons of it. From javelins to rifles to bows and arrows and sabers, there is plenty of checked luggage to handle. The numbers, as illustrated in the infographics below, are staggering.

All that equipment will also have to leave, which is why Heathrow isn't just planning for the onslaught at the beginning of the Olympics. Heathrow's second busiest day, Andy Garner, Director of Operational Planning for Olympics predicts, will be August 13, the day after the Olympics end. Some 138,000 people will be departing along with their roughly 200,000 bags.

What is Heathrow doing to combat the inevitable clog? On August 12th, Heathrow security will set up remote check-in at Olympic Village to handle the travel for roughly 10,000 athletes and their 35,000 bags, Garner told The Huffington Post.

Check out some stats on the Heathrow Games below, courtesy of the airport.

For HuffPost's full coverage, head to our 2012 Summer Olympics page.



The Heathrow Olympics