May 30, 2012 / 10:53 AM / 5 years ago

Heathrow rolls out red carpet for Jubilee crowds

LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) - Passengers touching down in London's Heathrow for the upcoming Queen's Diamond Jubilee and dreading the infamous queues can have something to look forward to - with red carpets due to be rolled out in arrivals and a Salvation Army band keeping spirits up among the crowds.

Union Jack flags will be handed out and visitors will be greeted with a 20-metre-wide artwork of Her Majesty looming over them on the runway, said airport operator BAA, which runs Heathrow and is majority owned by Spain's Ferrovial.

BAA said this week it expected over 780,000 people to arrive between Wednesday and next Tuesday, with Friday likely to be busiest ahead of the weekend's Jubilee, which celebrates 60 years of the queen's reign.

Huge crowds are expected in London, with the event set to be marked by a concert at Buckingham Palace and a 1,000-boat flotilla along the River Thames.

Running at close to full capacity, Heathrow - Europe's busiest airport - has dealt with complaints about long wait lines to pass through passport control in recent weeks .

On the Jubilee weekend, though, visitors will be able to while away the hours listening to live entertainment, with musicians, including a Salvation Army band, slated to play in the airport terminals.

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