Freeze wreaks flight havoc

More planes grounded; delays, cancellations widespread

white blanket: A nun of the Benedictine abbey of the castle Dinklage, northwestern Germany walks through the snow on Tuesday. AFP

More planes got off the ground than on Monday but for thousands of travellers hoping to get home or away for Christmas, delays and cancellations were widespread.

Eurocontrol, which oversees air-traffic control across 38 countries, said it expected more services to operate after about 3,000 flights across Europe were cancelled on Monday.
With more snow forecast, there was little Christmas cheer for those camped at London's Heathrow Airport waiting for flights or queuing for cross-channel Eurostar trains in sub-zero temperatures outside central London’s St Pancras station.

Refugee camp

Heathrow looked more like a refugee camp with angry and frustrated passengers camping in departure halls as they awaited information on delayed or cancelled flights.
Flights to and from Frankfurt airport, continental Europe’s biggest, resumed on Tuesday morning after the airport was shut for several hours overnight. “It is our goal to return to normal flight operations as quickly as possible,” a spokesman for operator Fraport said.
The picture was slightly brighter for air travellers in Belgium after handling agents at its main airport managed to get hold of de-icing fluid after saying on Monday they might run out, allowing the departure of some planes.

But hundreds of travellers were left stranded on trains between London and the northeast of England after damage to overhead power lines brought services to a halt.
Meanwhile, most of the London-bound flights from India resumed on Tuesday as the Heathrow airport partially opened for operations after being hit by heavy snow for the past two days.

Barring a Kingfisher Airline flight from Delhi (IT-001), all other flights of Air India, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Jet Airways operated according to the revised schedule.

The airline has planned to operate its London-Delhi flight (IT 002) from Heathrow subject to availability of de-icing fluid at Brussels airport as its local supplies had been exhausted and fresh supplies were expected to take quite a while.

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