Monday 21 January 2013

Over 250 flights cancelled in Heathrow due to extreme weather condition

Aviation Nigeria

More than 250 flights were cancelled at Heathrow as forecasters warn of just 2cm of snow. A statement from the airport said: 'Latest forecasts showed a 'high probability of around 2-6cm of accumulating snow and low visibility at periods throughout the day.

Stranded passengers were forced to sleep on terminal floors after severe weather saw hundreds of flights cancelled over the weekend. Travellers vented their frustration about the cancellations.

Heathrow, which typically handles 1,300 flights a day, said the cancellations were necessary because there is low visibility, so more space has to be left between aircraft. British Airways, Air France, Aer Lingus, Lufthansa and TAP Portugal flights have been affected.

Many airports have plenty of spare runway capacity so aircraft can be spaced out more during low visibility without causing delays and cancellations. Because Heathrow operates at almost full capacity, there is simply no room to reschedule the delayed flights.

A Heathrow spokeswoman added: 'The airport is running quite smoothly because of these cancelled 
flights. We will keep monitoring the situation.'

The airport will announce if and how many flights will be cancelled later today. BA has already sent apologies to customers saying it was doing everything it could to help those whose flights have been disrupted by the weather.

More than 100 Heathrow flights – 67 of them departures – were grounded yesterday after 440 were cancelled on Friday because of the weather.

Former Transport Minister Lord Adonis yesterday said: ‘There are still big concerns about the resilience of Heathrow. Any passengers experiencing delays and cancellations will not be impressed when they see other airports operating more effectively.’

A total of £36 million has been spent upgrading Heathrow’s winter weather equipment over the past two years, more than doubling the number of snow-clearing vehicles to 130.

But it still had to shut its northern runway for more than an hour on Friday morning so snowploughs could clear it of snow and ice.


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