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Snow update
December 20th, 2010 by elisa

Snow at Heathrow picture by Flickr User celesteh

Writing about the big freeze gives me a sense of deja vu to the start of 2010 when travel chaos because of excessive snowfall ground most of the county to a halt and delayed and cancelled flights. This year the snow has come early, and even though it seems likely we’ll have a white Christmas, no one wants the snow before the big day as it really messes up plans for holidays to escape the cold and visits to relatives across the country.

Thousands of passengers trying to get on flights out of the UK have been told it could be several more days before they can catch their flights as airports struggle to deal with the weather. British Airways has cancelled most flights out of Heathrow and is urging passengers not to travel to the airport before checking the status of their flight.

Only one of Heathrow’s two runways is operating and many areas of the airfield remain unusable including areas around parked aircraft, this seems a bit of a let down after Heathrow claimed to have spent millions on plans to prevent closure if the snow came.

“The airport owner, BAA, is continuing to clear large amounts of snow and ice from the airfield but based on current icy conditions and forecast of further bad weather, we expect this process to take some time,” said a BA statement.

“The airport is therefore likely to be operating at significantly reduced capacity for several days.”

BA said it was planning to operate as many longhaul flights as possible today, but warned there will be some cancellations.

“We are operating a small number of shorthaul flights this morning but due to the severe restrictions to flights at the Airport all shorthaul flights after 1200 have been cancelled,” it said.

“We would urge customers not to travel to the airport unless they have a confirmed booking on one of the flights that is operating.”

Customers whose flights are non-essential are being encourages to cancel their flight, in return for a full refund, or to consider changing their flight to another date over the next 12 months.

BA is running reduced operation of flights at Gatwick and London City today.

Bmi has cancelled 30 flights to and from Heathrow today and Virgin Atlantic warned it would be another 24-48 hours before its schedule was back to normal at Heathrow.


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