Snow brings fur­ther chaos for Christ­mas trav­ellers

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

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

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