22-Dec-2010 9:58 AM

European airports continue to report disruptions, Heathrow opens second runway

European airports continued to report delays and cancellations on 21-Dec-2010, with some airports reopening as others closed (AFP/Associated Press/Bloomberg/Press Association/Reuters/Telegraph, 21-Dec-2010). Eurocontrol stated it expected more flights to operate during the day, following 3000 flight cancellations the day prior.

  • UK/Ireland:
    • Aberdeen Airport: was open on 21-Dec-2010, but reported heavy road traffic delays leading to the airport (Evening Express, 21-Dec-2010);
    • Cork Airport: remained open on 21-Dec-2010 and is taking flights diverted from Dublin (irishtimes.com, 21-Dec-2010);
    • Dublin Airport: closed at 12:00 on 21-Dec-2010 and now plans to remain closed until 08:00 on 22-Dec-2010;
    • East Midlands Airport: stated it has handled more than 30 diverted flights from elsewhere in the UK since the weather disruptions began (UK-Airport-News.info, 21-Dec-2010). The airport is operating as normal;
    • Jersey Airport: announced (21-Dec-2010) it has resumed operations and although some delays occurred all commercial flights were running almost to schedule. This included services to London Gatwick, Southampton, Birmingham, Exeter, Isle of Man and Guernsey. [more]
    • London City Airport: stated it was open on 21-Dec-2010, with some delays and cancellations;
    • London Gatwick Airport: reopened at 06:00 on 21-Dec-2010, after closing overnight. 600 flights were scheduled to operate to/from the airport for the day;
    • London Heathrow Airport: announced (21-Dec-2010) its Southern runway reopened in the evening.
      • The airport stated airlines are currently operating a significantly reduced schedule while they move diverted aircraft and crew back into position, and it is extremely important that passengers do not travel to the airport unless they have confirmed their booking with their airline and their flight is shown as operating on the airport's website. Around two thirds of flights were cancelled over the day. Heathrow added it is now working with airlines to return to a normal schedule as quickly as possible; [more]
      • BAA CEO Colin Matthews warned passengers that the situation will not return to normal immediately now the second runway is open, stating "it's not just two runways we need - we need every other link in the chain to be fully up to speed and it's going to take some time to do that";
      • The CEO also stated that BAA may require "different equipment, different procedures in the future" if the current conditions persist. Among the key issues is a limit on the quantities of de-icing fluid that can be stored at Heathrow (The Financial Times, 21-Dec-2010);
    • London Stansted Airport: remained open on 21-Dec-2010 (Braintree and Witham Times, 21-Dec-2010). The airport has not closed due to the weather conditions since 18-Dec-2010;
    • Newcastle International Airport: announced (21-Dec-2010) it has been taking in diverted aircraft from across the globe in the recent cold weather. It took 14 diverted flights between 17-Dec-2010 and 19-Dec-2010; [more]
    • Shannon Airport: remained open on 21-Dec-2010 and is taking flights diverted from Dublin;
  • Continental Europe:
    • Amsterdam Schiphol Airport: stated it was returning to normal operations on 21-Dec-2010 (The National, 22-Dec-2010);
    • Berlin Airports: announced (20-Dec-2010) due to the continuation of the adverse weather conditions, delays and cancellations are very likely to occur and that air travel will be disrupted until Christmas. Berlin Airports expected around 130 flights to be cancelled on 20-Dec-2010, after around 200 flights were cancelled between 17-Dec-2010 and 19-Dec-2010; [more]
    • Brussels Airport: returned to normal operations on 21-Dec-2010, after de-icing liquid stocks did not run out as expected (Earth Times/KUNA, 21-Dec-2010). One of the airport's maintenance operators Flightcare was reportedly able to acquire additional fluid from DHL. More flights than expected were able to operate to/from the airport as a result;
    • Cyprus Airports: stated Larnaca Airport's schedule will continue to be disrupted due to weather conditions in western Europe (Cyprus Mail, 21-Dec-2010);
    • Dusseldorf Airport: was closed on 21-Dec-2010 (GenevaLunch, 21-Dec-2010);
    • Florence Airport: was closed on 21-Dec-2010, due to fog;
    • Frankfurt Airport: announced (21-Dec-2010) it reopened at 08:30, following a closure of the runway at 05:00 due to the sudden and heavy snowfall in the early morning hours. Fraport AG stated all three runways are now clear of snow and ice and the airport aims to return to regular operations as soon as possible. 550 of 1300 flights were cancelled for the day; [more]
    • Geneva Airport: remained closed on 21-Dec-2010;
    • Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly airports: had cancelled at least 28 flights before 07:00 on 21-Dec-2010. Aeroports de Paris stated the average flight delay at CDG was two to three hours. The airports have expanded their operations to 24 hours a day to handle some of the backlog of passengers;
    • Stockholm Arlanda Airport: cancelled 10 of 600 flights on 21-Dec-2010, due to conditions at other airports;
  • Nordic Europe:
    • Finavia: announced (21-Dec-2010) it has invested plenty of resources in winter maintenance and airport in Finland have remained open in spite of snowfalls and sub-zero temperatures; [more]
  • Eastern Europe:
    • Moscow airports: continued to operate as normal on 21-Dec-2010 (The Voice of Russia, 21-Dec-2010);

Carriers reported the following delays and cancellations as a result:

  • UK/Ireland:
    • Aer Arann: forced to cancel flights to/from Dublin on 21-Dec-2010, due to the airport closure;
    • Aer Lingus: forced to cancel flights to/from Dublin on 21-Dec-2010;
    • British Airways: cancelled two thirds of services to/from Heathrow on 21-Dec-2010, including a significant number of short-haul services. ;
    • Ryanair: forced to cancel flights to/from Dublin on 21-Dec-2010;
  • Continental Europe: 
    • Air Malta: announced (21-Dec-2010) it operated two Malta-London Heathrow flights and one Malta-London Heathrow flight for the day. Malta-London Gatwick flights operated normally, but one flight to Gawick was delayed due to an ATC slot delay. Malta-Amsterdam-Brussels-Malta service also operated as per normal schedule; [more]
    • Alitalia: stated it would operate only six flights to London on 21-Dec-2010, including two Milan Linate-London Heathrow flights and four Rome Fiumicino-London Heathrow flights;
    • Lufthansa: announced (21-Dec-2010) passenger and cargo services continue to be severely disrupted, following the Frankfurt Airport between 05:00 and 08:30. As a result, Lufthansa had to cancel all long-haul flights up until 12:00. The weather situation is also again disrupting short to medium-haul flights. However, it expects to resume an almost normal flight schedule on 22-Dec-2010;
    • Lufthansa Cargo stated it has been forced to cancel a number of flights and is obliged to prolong the following restrictions in order to get back to stable flight operations as soon as possible: 
      • Up to and including 24-Dec-2010, no more cargo will be transported on short- and medium-haul Lufthansa passenger flights. Transport, wherever possible, will be by Road Feeder Service;
      • Up to and including 22-Dec-2010, no freight will be transported into Frankfurt on long-haul Lufthansa passenger flights;
      • The restrictions on transports by RFS were lifted;
      • The immense shipment backlog in Frankfurt is making it very difficult e.g. to prioritise the extraction of single shipments and additionally to extract cargo from built-up units;
      • Only export shipments scheduled for departure within 24 hours will be accepted; [more]
  • Nordic Europe:
    • SAS: stated it has 5000-6000 passengers stranded in London due to flight cancellations (The Local, 21-Dec-2010). Operations from Frankfurt and Paris have returned to normal for the carrier;
  • Eastern Europe:
    • Bulgaria Air: announced plans to operate an additional Sofia-London Luton-Sofia flight on 21-Dec-2010, to handle the backlog of passengers. The carrier operated a London Heathrow-Sofia flight on 21-Dec-2010 (novinite.com, 21-Dec-2010); [more]
  • US/Canada:
    • Air Canada: announced (21-Dec-2010) Heathrow has given it permission to increase flights to London , allowing the carrier to reinstate previously cancelled flights. Air Canada resumed operations of its full schedule in the evening; [more]
  • North Asia:
    • Cathay Pacific: announced it expects to operate its normal schedule of four flights from Hong Kong to London on 22-Dec-2010, following the opening of London Heathrow Airport's second runway. Passengers travelling from Auckland to London will also be accepted for travel. Cathay Pacific is hoping to be able to operate additional services over the next few days to help clear the backlog of passengers but stated this is conditional on aircraft and crew availability, as well as slots at Heathrow; [more]
  • Southeast Asia:
    • Malaysian Airlines: announced (21-Dec-2010) it is now able to gradually resume London services. Passengers stranded in Frankfurt have now been transported to London. Another flight that was forced to divert to Istanbul will now operate to London Stansted, with a return flight to Kuala Lumpur scheduled for 22-Dec-2010; [more]
    • Thai Airways: announced (21-Dec-2010) the cancellation of one Bangkok-London flight and one London-Bangkok flight for the day. However, the carrier plans to operate two additional London-Bangkok flights to transport passengers from Heathrow. It also operated an additional London-Bangkok flight on 20-Dec-2010; [more]
  • South Pacific:
    • Air New Zealand: stated two flights stranded in London arrived in Auckland early in the morning on 22-Dec-2010 (Stuff, 22-Dec-2010). More than 120 passengers remain stranded in Los Angeles en route to London;
    • Qantas: cancelled two flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London on 22-Dec-2010, while another two were able to takeoff (AAP, 21-Dec-2010). Five flights from London on 20-Dec-2010 and 21-Dec-2010 have all now departed London. The carrier stated it has no plans to operate additional flights to/from London but hopes to accommodate passengers on subsequent schedules. It added it cannot guarantee passengers stranded in London will be able to make it to Australia in time for Christmas, as it is “at the mercy” of Heathrow (The Age, 22-Dec-2010);
  • India:
    • Air India: announced (20-Dec-2010) the delay of the majority flights from Delhi and Mumbai to London for 20-Dec-2010. One Delhi-London flight departed in the afternoon. The carrier resumed some operations to/from London on 21-Dec-2010 (Business Standard, 22-Dec-2010); [more]
      Kingfisher Airlines: announced (21-Dec-2010) it operated two Heathrow-Mumbai flights and one Heathrow-Mumbai flight for the day. One Heathrow-Delhi and one Delhi-Heathrow flight were cancelled for the day, while another London-Delhi service was scheduled to depart at 21:30 local time, subject to availability of de-icing fluid at Brussels Airport and arrival slot clearance at Heathrow for the aircraft from Brussels; [more]
    • Pakistan International Airlines: stated passengers affected by delays and cancellations in Pakistan and Europe have now reached their destinations (Khaleej Times, 22-Dec-2010). The carrier stated it may lose “millions of rupees” from the flight disruptions, but added it is unable to calculate how much it will cost until the incident is over;
  • Middle East:
    • Emirates: stated all flights to Europe were operating as close to schedule as possible (Khaleej Times, 21-Dec-2010). The carrier operated an additional three flights to the UK on the day to handle the backlog of passengers (AMEinfo, 21-Dec-2010);
    • Etihad Airways: was forced to divert a flight en route to Frankfurt to Munich due to the early morning closure of the airport. All other Europe flights operated to schedule;
    • Gulf Air: operated two Bahrain-London Heathrow flights on 20-Dec-2010, its first services to the airport since 18-Dec-2010 (TradeArabia News Service, 20-Dec-2010).
    • Saudi Arabian Airlines: suspended all flights to London on 20-Dec-2010 (The Saudi Gazette, 21-Dec-2010);
  • Africa:
    • Arik Air: cancelled one Lagos-London flight on 21-Dec-2010 (Daily Independent, 20-Dec-2010);
    • Ethiopian Airlines: announced (21-Dec-2010) the following schedule changes: 
      • 18-Dec-2010: London-Addis Ababa service delayed, operated on 20-Dec-2010;
      • 20-Dec-2010: Addis Ababa-Paris and Addis Ababa-Brussels flights operated as normal, London-Addis Ababa flight delayed, operated on 21-Dec-2010;
      • 21-Dec-2010: flights between Addis Ababa and Frankfurt, Brussels, Paris, Stockholm and Rome on schedule; [more]
    • South African Airlines: stated they were informed by Heathrow that they could operate only one flight from South Africa to the airport on 21-Dec-2010 (Business Day, 21-Dec-2010). The carrier had planned to operate three flights to London for the day. SAA has been forced to cancel or delay 18 flights between South Africa and London over the past few days;
    • Qatar Airways: resumed normal operations of its Doha-London Heathrow service on 21-Dec-2010 (MENAFN, 21-Dec-2010).

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