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Update on adverse weather disruptions in Europe

24-Dec-2010 8:56 AM

European airports reported the following disruptions as snow conditions continued to affect some airports across the continent on 23-Dec-2010 (AFP/Associated Press/BBC News/Bloomberg/BreakingNews.ie/ irishtimes.com/Irish Examiner/JOE.ie/The Independent, 23-Dec-2010):

  • UK/Ireland:
    • Dublin Airport: closed twice on 23-Dec-2010, closing at 09:30 and opening shortly after 13:00, before closing again in the evening. The airport expected to remain closed until 23:00 at the earliest. The morning closure resulted in the cancellation of 100 flights. Additional flights to the UK, continental Europe and North America had also been scheduled for the day. Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) stated it is now considering opening the airport on 25-Dec-2010 in an attempt to clear the backlog of passengers. Dublin Bus stated it will operate Airlink buses to/from the airport if it opens on Christmas day. All other Irish airports were fully operational for the 23-Dec-2010;
    • Cambridge Airport: stated it has remained open during the heavy snow conditions (Business Weekly, 23-Dec-2010);
    • London City Airport: stated its operations have returned to normal;
    • London Gatwick Airport: stated operations were "back to normal" on 23-Dec-2010, after additional flights to handle the backlog of passengers. However, it warned there could be some "knock on" delays and cancellations. The airport stated 80% of passengers were able to get on their flights between 17-Dec-2010 and 23-Dec-2010;
    • London Heathrow Airport: announced (23-Dec-2010) it is open and most flights were expected to operate for the day. The airport expected 90% of flights to operate for the day, equalling 1200 flights. At least 120 flights were cancelled from the airport for the day as aircraft and crews were out of position after five days of disruptions. Heathrow stated it will take a few more days to return to full operations and there is no guarantee this will happen before Christmas; [more]
  • Continental Europe:
    • Amsterdam Schiphol Airport: stated operations returned to normal on 23-Dec-2010, with only a few outgoing flights to the UK cancelled (RNW, 23-Dec-2010);
    • Brussels Airport: suffered delays of up to six hours, while flights to Berlin and Hamburg were cancelled;
    • Budapest Airport: stated it was operating its normal schedule on 23-Dec-2010 (XpatLoop.com, 23-Dec-2010);
    • Frankfurt Airport: announced (23-Dec-2010) operations have improved and its baggage conveyor system is operating at almost full capacity again. More than 1000 flights were reportedly cancelled at Germany's major airports for 23-Dec-2010 (UPI, 23-Dec-2010).
    • Paris Charles de Gaulle: cancelled 20% of flights for 23-Dec-2010. Aeroports de Paris stated the cancellations would persist all day;
    • Paris Orly Airport: also cancelled 20% of services until 13:00;
  • Eastern Europe:
    • Sofia Airport: stated weather conditions improved and traffic conditions returned on 23-Dec-2010 (The Sofia Echo, 23-Dec-2010). A number of services to Munich, Frankfurt, Prague and Bucharest were still cancelled, while incoming flights were severely delayed. The airport stated it has taken measures to assist stranded passengers, including the installation of 50 additional seats in its lounges and the continuous provision of weather and airport conditions (novinite.com, 23-Dec-2010). Plodviv Airport handled a number of flights for Sofia Airport during the disruptions;

In response to the disruptions, airlines announced the following:

  • UK/Ireland:
    • Aer Lingus: cancelled all services to/from Dublin from 16:00 on 23-Dec-2010 until the morning of 24-Dec-2010. The carrier stated the airport's first four-hour closure of the day had a "knock-on effect" to other services and thus had no choice but to cancel services later in the day;
    • bmi: announced (22-Dec-2010) it was the first British carrier to resume its full flying programme at Heathrow; [more]
    • British Airways: stated it planned to operate all long-haul flights to/from Heathrow and the "vast majority" of European services on 23-Dec-2010 and 24-Dec-2010. It increased capacity on European services by deploying 275-seat B777 equipment. British Airways stated it cancelled 150 flights on 22-Dec-2010 following misleading guidance from BAA about when the second runway at Heathrow would reopen;
  • Continental Europe:
    • Air France: advised passengers it would allow them to delay flights until 05-Mar-2010;
    • Air Malta: announced (23-Dec-2010) all flights operating out of Malta International Airport are departing on time or experiencing slight delays. The airline was not expecting any substantial delays for afternoon and evening flights; [more]
    • Lufthansa: announced (23-Dec-2010) that as the weather situation at Frankfurt Airport is increasingly improved, Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo have returned to mostly normal flight operations. Cargo will be transported again on short- and medium-haul Lufthansa passenger flights from Frankfurt. Long-haul Lufthansa passenger flights from Frankfurt and all freighter connections are transporting cargo. Effective from 25-Dec-2010, bookings for short- and medium-haul Lufthansa passenger flights will be accepted again. To overcome the shipment backlog in Frankfurt, Lufthansa Cargo is planning extra sections in upcoming days; [more]
    • Olympic Air: announced (23-Dec-2010) flights between Athens and Skiathos were cancelled due to bad weather; [more]
  • Eastern Europe:
    • TAROM: announced (23-Dec-2010) there have been long baggage delays recorded for passengers who travelled on flights between 17-Dec-2010 and 22-Dec-2010, on services to/from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris and London; [more]
  • US/Canada:
    • United Continental Holdings: retained waivers to allow passengers to rebook affected Europe services without penalties;
    • Delta Air Lines: retained waivers to allow passengers to rebook affected Europe services without penalties;
    • American Airlines: retained waivers to allow passengers to rebook affected Europe services without penalties;
  • Middle East:
    • Emirates: stated all Europe services were in operation on 23-Dec-2010;
    • Etihad Airways: was forced to divert a flight to Dublin via Manchester to Shannon, from which passengers were transported by coach to Dublin;
  • Africa:
    • South African Airways: stated it returned to its normal schedule for services between South Africa and Heathrow on 23-Dec-2010 and it no longer has a backlog of passengers (SAPA, 23-Dec-2010). Six flights from Heathrow departed for the day.