altApril 16 - London 2012 is close to agreeing a £10 million sponsorship deal with the British Airports Authority (BAA) that would confirm Heathrow as main gateway for the Games, it was reported today.

BAA, which owns Heathrow and six other British airports, is preparing a £10 million bid to become the airport services supplier, the Evening Standard reported today.

Under the plan likely BAA would provide free services such as welcome desks, fast-tracks for athletes, VIP escorts and media facilities.

In return it would become a "tier three supplier" and have use of Olympic branding at the airport and be granted first refusal for staff on tickets and hospitality at the 2012 Games.

About 15,000 athletes and 20,000 media representatives are expected at London 2012 and the majority will touch down at Heathrow, which handles about two thirds of long-haul flights to Britain.

By 2012 major refurbishments of terminals one and four will have been completed.

Heathrow's Terminal 5 is home to British Airways which is the official airline of the 2012 Games and as such is entitled to use the 2012 logo on its planes.

Heathrow is expected to be at full capacity in 2012 with an expected surge in leisure and tourist passengers.

However any deal with BAA is unlikely to apply to Gatwick and Stansted, which the company has been told by the competition commission to sell.

A BAA spokesman said: "We are in discussions with LOCOG about the services they will require, but no formal arrangements have been put in place."

London 2012 has so far raised £480 million towards a sponsorship target of £650 million.

It expects much of the remainder to be made up of free goods and services, or "value in kind", and says it is in talks with about 20 potential sponsors.