Snow brings further chaos for Christmas travellers
LONDON: Hundreds of Christmas travellers faced a third day stranded at Heathrow airport on Monday as arctic conditions sparked fresh flight delays and cancellations.
Heavy snow and thick ice all but closed Heathrow, the busiest international passenger air hub in the world, over the weekend and forced holidaymakers to set up camp at the airport on Saturday night.
But there was little respite for people trying to get away for the festive period at Heathrow and other airports across the country, with operators admitting that the chaos was set to stretch into Christmas week.
British Airways said Heathrow had only one of its two runways operational and "many areas of the airfield remain unusable, including areas around parked aircraft".
The airline said it was operating "a limited schedule of flights" to and from Heathrow on Monday morning and had published a schedule until noon.
"We are awaiting further updates from BAA before publishing the schedule for the remainder of the day," the airline said. "Customers should continue to check their flight status as more snow is forecast this afternoon, which could cause further disruption to airport operations."
"We would urge customers not to travel to the airport unless they have a confirmed booking on one of the flights that is operating.!
Britain's roads and railways were also hit by the harsh winter weather, with some roads made impassable after drivers abandoned their vehicles in heavy snow and passengers being ejected onto freezing platforms from broken-down trains.
There were long queues at St Pancras station in London for Eurostar services to Paris and Brussels on Monday morning. The company said the hold-ups to get checked in were due to people arriving early for their trains. One customer described the scenes as "chaotic".
With forecasters predicting this month could be the coldest December for a century, the country braced for further problems Monday with up to 20 centimetres of snow expected in some places. -Afp