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Snowfall causes travel chaos in UK and Europe

December 12, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The heaviest snowfall in four years blanketed much of Britain over the weekend as sleet and snow slammed into Europe, stranding passengers at airports and preventing many people from even reaching airports.

Tens of thousands of British Airways passengers were left stranded after the airline was forced to cancel more than 160 of its flights from Heathrow.

Meanwhile, long-haul flights to London from Dubai, Mumbai and New York were diverted to Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin respectively, the Independent reported. It estimated that conditions had stranded 27,000 BA passengers in London, 20,000 in continental Europe, and another 3000 at other British airports.

Delays may flow on for several days.

London snowfall

One passenger wrote that he had been “stuck inside” an aircraft for five hours and that the airline did not provide food or water unless passegners paid for it.

In France, a P&O ferry with more than 300 people aboard ran aground in high winds at Calais. There were no injuries.

Germany’s busiest airport, Frankfurt, cancelled more than 300 flights. Duesseldorf airport was closed for four hours during Sunday afternoon and trains were delayed, redirected or cancelled across North Rhine-Westphalia state.

In Britain, Birmingham airport suspended flights for all of Sunday morning while runways were cleared of snow.

Torrential rain in London meant planes at Heathrow could not be de-iced in time for take-off. Delays fed back through the system and in the end even planes that had been de-iced had iced up again and required further de-icing.

Road crashes were reported throughout England and Wales and motorists were advised not to travel unless “absolutely necessary”.

Written by Peter Needham


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