Snow Forces Heathrow To Cancel Half Its Flights

February 6, 2012

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London's Heathrow Airport cut around half of the 1,300 flights scheduled for Sunday after snow and freezing temperatures hit much of England on Saturday.

"Heathrow is open. Our runways, taxiways and stands have been cleared of snow. Our snow plan has worked far better than in previous years, and the airport is getting back to normal. However, there will still be disruption for passengers, as indicated on Saturday," Heathrow owner BAA said in a statement.

Around 10 centimetres (4 inches) of snow fell over Britain in 24 hours.

BAA was criticised in December 2010 after heavy snowfall led to the virtual shutdown of Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

"British Airways has complied with the request (to introduce a reduced flight schedule) and continues to work with BAA to help keep the airport running as smoothly as possible. We are combining some of our schedule to ensure our customers can continue to fly to their destination as planned on alternate services," said British Airways, Heathrow's biggest user.

London's Gatwick airport said it planned to operate as normal but warned passengers of possible disruptions.

BAA said that based on current weather forecasts, there was no need to make wholesale changes to Heathrow's flight schedule for Monday.

"There may still be some cancellations as a result of disruption with aircraft and crew needing to be repositioned," BAA said.

"There is no further snowfall forecast for Sunday, but there is a forecast of freezing fog from 1800 GMT."

(Reuters)