Thousands of travellers stranded at airports across Europe

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 21:07

London: Thousands of frustrated
travellers remained stranded at airports across Europe for the
fourth day on Tuesday, even as authorities warned that disruption
could last until after Christmas, following the heaviest
snowfalls in decades.

Thousands of Christmas travellers were forced to sleep
in airports and train stations across Europe as fresh
snowfalls paralysed transport system.

At Heathrow, Britain`s busiest airport, hundreds are
spending their fourth day stranded in terminal buildings which
looked like Mumbai`s busy Victoria Terminus.

Beleaguered BAA, the operator of Heathrow, has
scrapped two thirds of today`s schedule and one of the two
runways is still closed, despite it not snowing heavily since
Saturday morning.

Air India operated two flights to India yesterday, one
to New Delhi and the other to Mumbai, but no flights were
allowed to take off to India today, a spokesperson of the
airlines said to a news agency.

The British Airways operated its London-Delhi flight
yesterday, though it took off after the passengers spent four
hours inside the plane at the Terminal 5.

"Passengers should anticipate further delays," a BAA
spokesman said.

The operator warned "significant cancellations" would
last until at least tomorrow and that many part of the
airfield would be out of action until tomorrow morning "at the
earliest".

"The key message for our passengers is to make sure
you check on the Heathrow website to see if your flight is
going to depart, if it is, come to the airport and we will do
our absolute best to give you a great experience," Colin
Matthews, chief executive of British airport operator BAA, was
quoted as saying by ITV news.

Most of the Europe-bound flights were cancelled while
the British Airways operated their long-haul flights including
those for Japan.

Temperatures hit a low of minus 17.6 degrees Celsius
(O.3 Fahrenheit) in the northwestern town of Crosby, although
in London they hovered around 0 degrees Celsius (32
Fahrenheit).

Forecasters are now warning that another 12 inches of
snow could fall in some parts of Britain before Wednesday
morning, with Wales and the south west likely to be worst hit.

The sub-zero temperatures is expected to last until
Christmas but that the long-awaited thaw could begin on Boxing
Day.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 21:07

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