Snow and Ice Cause Flight Delays and Accidents Across Europe

By Paul Riegler on 21 January 2013
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Road conditions were icy in Germany on Monday

Road conditions were icy in Germany on Monday

European airports and airlines from Frankfurt to London suspended well over 800 flights on Monday as heavy snow and freezing weather gripped the continent.  The cancellations came as airlines were trying to overcome bottlenecks caused by cancellations over the weekend, also due to weather.

Air France scrapped 252 flights, Lufthansa (including Lufthansa Cityline) cancelled 276, British Airways had to cancel 110, and KLM  89.   Frankfurt Airport slashed its schedule by 40% and London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, had to cancel over 200 flights.

Moscow saw over 50 cm of snow but experienced no flight delays.

Conditions were treacherous on roads and railways, leading to numerous accidents.  In southwestern Germany, there were more than 1,000 weather-related accidents.  Police there reported 23 kilometers of traffic on the Autobahn 81 from Heilbronn to Stuttgart due to ice and poor visibility Monday morning.  In Berlin, an entire section of Autobahn was closed and the Autobahn A4 in Thüringen on the Hesse border saw 70 kilometers of traffic at one point.

Eurostar pre-emptively cancelled six London to Paris trains and Virgin Trains and other British rail companies have also had to suspend some services.  SNCF, the French rail operator, had to slow down its high-speed TGV service but said it would maintain 97% of its normal operations.

European rules require the airlines to provide passengers who are stranded by weather-related cancellations with food and lodging.  Many airlines were offering passengers an opportunity to change or cancel flights at no charge.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)


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