Snow Causes Flight Cancellations Across Europe

By Paul Riegler on 21 January 2013
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Snow blanketed Munich Airport last week.

Snow blanketed Munich Airport last week.

London’s Heathrow Airport cancelled 20% of flights on Sunday, roughly 250 in all, and 40% of flights in and out of Paris’ two airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, were cancelled as well, as snow continued to fall in the two European capitals.

By early Monday, Heathrow authorities had already announced that 10% of flights would be cancelled and that the number could rise depending on weather conditions.  Over the weekend, thousands of travelers were left stranded at the airport after 440 flights were cancelled on Friday.  An additional 100 flights were cancelled on Saturday.

Later on Monday, the airport issued the following statement:   “As low visibility is forecast this evening, the flight schedule has been revised to reduce the number of flights operating and allow passengers more time to adjust their travel plans.”

The snow was the first test of the £36 million in snow removal and de-icing equipment BAA, the airport’s operator, acquired two years ago after the airport was criticized for allowing operations to come to a halt with only one inch of snow on the ground.  Airport officials said that the equipment worked well.

Train service was also impacted by the storm.  Virgin Trans cancelled numerous trains to and from London and France’s SNCF railway company announced delays of up to 40 minutes on multiple routes.

Last week, hundreds of flights were cancelled and hundreds more were delayed at Germany’s and Austria’s main airports, including Frankfurt, Munich, and Vienna.

Snow and freezing temperatures are expected to continue to blanket the U.K. for the coming week.

UPDATE 1 – This article was updated on January 21, 2012 after Heathrow Airport released a statement about evening flight schedules.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)


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