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Heathrow terminal 5: Chaos as new terminal opens

London Heathrow is the biggest airport in the UK and it also handles more international passenger traffic than any other airport in the world. For this reason, expansion was planned and on 27th March a fifth terminal opened to help to cope with the many passengers that pass through the airport.

The new terminal has taken a long time to plan and build. The idea was first proposed back in the 1980s. The opening of it has been talked about widely in the media in the UK and expectations were high for the £4.3 billion project.

However, in spite of long preparations at Terminal 5 ahead of the grand opening, things soon descended into chaos. There were problems from the outset as staff had difficulties finding car parking spaces and getting through security to get into the building. This consequently caused a delay when passengers started to arrive and adequate numbers of staff were not in place. Long passenger queues formed and the slow start meant that everyone had to play catch-up from the beginning.

Staff were having problems using the new systems and a baggage handlertold the BBC, it was all a shambles the moment the doors opened. The terminal has been designed to handle 12,000 bags an hour but due to a reported lack of training and essential support that was promised, a backlog of luggage soon rganization.

By lunchtime on that first day, 20 flights had been cancelled to try and alleviate the problems. Flights continued to be cancelled in the days following the opening and up to 28,000 bags have now had to be placed in temporary storage.

BA, the only airline operating at Terminal 5 says it is working to clear the backlog, but the negative publicity caused by this fiasco has not helped the airport or the airlines reputation at all.

Glossary

handles deals with, takes responsibility for queues formed people stood one after another in long lines
international passenger traffic people who travel on planes from one country to another to play catch-up to act quickly in order not to miss something (here, their flights). Literally, in a sport or game, to try to match the performance of another competitor
expansion becoming bigger, increasing in size a baggage handler somebody whose job it is to load and unload airplane baggage
to cope to deal (with a difficult situation) successfully a shambles in a state of confusion, poorly rganizat
proposed offered, stated, suggested (used when talking about a plan or action that people will consider) lack of not enough, insufficient
expectations when you think or believe something good will happen a backlog a large quantity of unfinished work that has built up over a period of time and which must be dealt with
billion a thousand million rganization appeared
grand splendid and impressive alleviate relieve, make easier
from the outset from the very beginning   temporary storage here, when lost bags are kept safe for a short time in a special building/place until somebody deals with them
adequate here, sufficient, enough fiasco a humiliating failure

Activities

Are these sentences true or false?

1. Heathrow airport deals with more international passengers than any other airport in the world. True / False

2. No one expected very much from the new terminal. True / False

3. There were more than enough staff to deal with passengers when they started to arrive. True / False

4. The backlog of luggage was cleared immediately. True / False

5. There is only one airline operating out of Terminal 5. True / False

Verbs. Match the verbs up with their correct definitions.

1. to handle 2. to delay 3. to cancel 4. to propose 5. to materialize 6. to alleviate a. to stop, to decide something rganizat wont happen b. to appear, to happen c. to deal with, to take responsibility for d. to postpone, to put off until later e. to suggest f. to relieve, to make easier

Now complete the following sentence using one of the verbs from above.

1. There are so many problems at the airport, they will have to __________ some flights.

2. More flights were cancelled to __________ the problems.

3. Id like to __________ we start the meeting at 9 a.m.

4. Theres not enough staff to __________ all the bags that are coming through the airport.

5. There are a few technical problems that are going to __________ things.

6. I was hoping the opportunity to travel would __________ in my new job, but unfortunately it didnt.

Ballroom dancing

Ballroom dancing in the UK used to be seen as something rather unfashionable that old people might do. For the past five years though, the popularity of ballroom dancing has soared thanks to a reality TV show. Strictly Come Dancing is one of the BBCs big TV shows. Millions of people tune in every Saturday night to watch the show which airs from September right up to Christmas.

In the show a number of professional ballroom dancers each partner up with a celebrity. Every week they have to learn a different ballroom dance and perform it live on TV on the Saturday night. Four judges, all of whom have a background in professional dance, give the celebrities scores and comments about their dances. Its then up to the public to call in and vote for their favourite couple. The two least favourite then have to dance again and the judges decide who stays in the competition and who leaves.

The show demonstrates how glamorous ballroom dancing is. The celebrities get to wear colourful dresses and sequined suits to dance in, and it looks like a lot of fun. The TV programme also shows what good exercise it can be to ballroom dance and what hard work is involved in learning the dances and performing them properly.

Dance schools around the country have seen a boost in the numbers of people wanting to learn how to dance. And its not only older people whore interested. Lots of children and young people in their 20s are keen to learn.

The format for the show has been copied in lots of countries around the world. In America, the show is called Dancing with the Stars.

So you can forget your usual exercise why not learn a foxtrot, a tango or a jive or for the less energetic, a waltz perhaps. Its the trendy thing to do!

Glossary

unfashionable not modern or popular sequined with a small shiny metal or plastic disc sewn onto them for decoration
soared grown a lot a boost a sharp and significant growth
tune in switch on their TV sets and select a particular channel keen willing, wanting  
airs is broadcast format here, the way and style in which parts of a TV programme are put together
partner up dance together as a pair foxtrot a type of formal ballroom dance that combines short quick steps with longer ones
live as it happens, not recorded tango an energetic dance of South American origin for two people
judges people who decide which person, or in this case pair, wins a competition jive a fast dance which was very popular with young people in the 1940s and 1950s  
scores the number of points someone gets in a game, test or competition waltz a formal dance in which two people holding each other move around a large room, turning as they go and repeating a movement of three steps
up to if something is up to you, you have the right and power to do or decide it trendy modern, influenced by recent fashions
glamorous attractive in a special or exciting way    

Activities

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