Snow disruption hits airport, flight services in Europe

21 January 2013 (Last Updated January 21st, 2013 18:30)

European airports have delayed hundreds of flights caused by snow and ice disruptions across the continent, hampering travel plans for a second week.

Heathrow airport

European airports have delayed hundreds of flights caused by snow and ice disruptions across the continent, hampering travel plans for a second week.

London Heathrow Airport cancelled 179 flights of the 260 flights that were grounded on Sunday, while Frankfurt scrapped 424 out of 1,190 flights, and about 40% of traffic through Paris's airports has been suspended.

Heathrow Airport has warned of further flight cancellations if the weather condition persists and reported a 10% reduction in the flight schedule for 21 January.

A Heathrow spokesperson said that the airfield at Heathrow is fully operational with all runways, taxiways and stands clear.

"Low visibility means that, for safety reasons, there needs to be a bigger gap between aircraft. Because Heathrow runs at almost 100% capacity there is no slack in the system and flights unfortunately have to be cancelled," spokesperson said.

"Further cancellations are inevitable given the adverse weather conditions at other airports around Europe."

Birmingham Airport remained closed, Gatwick expects some delays and asked passengers to check with airlines before travelling, while Stansted reported clear runway and good visibility conditions.

"The airfield at Heathrow is fully operational with all runways, taxiways and stands clear."

Cardiff, Bristol and Southampton airports were closed, while Glasgow and Edinburgh reported normal operations; however, Manchester Airport requested passengers allow extra time for journeys and to contact respective airline for flight updates.

Airport Operators Association chief executive Darren Caplan said that UK airports will do everything to ensure that passengers are not disrupted due to the weather.

"People due to fly should contact their airline direct," Caplan said.

"We also advise passengers to check travel conditions to airports as roads and rail services might also be affected by the weather conditions."


Image: London's Heathrow Airport cancelled 179 flights on Sunday, representing 14% of the total. Photo: courtesy of Warren Rohner.