United Kingdom: closed runways, canceled flights or hijacked planes… snow disrupts air traffic

Airplane wings covered in snow, dozens of snowplows and gritters and impassable runways. These are the photos posted by many Internet users waiting for a plane at several English airports on social networks this Sunday evening.

All flights were thus “suspended at Stansted airport after its runway was forced to close due to bad weather”, reports our colleagues from the BBC. London’s other two airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, also had to cancel or delay flights after snow, ice and freezing fog affected the entire country.

In particular, Stansted airport, located in north London, which is mainly used by low-cost airline Ryanair, closed its runways overnight from Sunday to Monday to clear snow and warned of possible disruptions.

On its website, several flights scheduled for Monday morning were still canceled, but the runways were “open and fully operational”, the airport said in a statement sent to AFP, indicating however that ” some flights may be delayed” due to the weather.

Ryanair also said on Twitter that “due to heavy snowfall in the UK, the runways at Stansted and Gatwick (in south London) have been temporarily closed overnight, disrupting all scheduled flights leave

On the social network, dozens of passengers stranded at the airports of the British capital posted videos showing take-off runways under snow, planes blocked on the ground.

According to the BBC, more than 50 flights were canceled on Sunday at Heathrow airport, the capital’s main airport, due to freezing fog.

10 to 15 cm of snow overnight

London Gatwick airport also had to close one of its runways for two hours, waiting for it to be cleared of snow and secured. This led to many complications, including hijacked flights to Amsterdam, Paris and Manchester. “Every effort is being made to return these flights to Gatwick tonight,” a spokesman said.

Air traffic at Heathrow airport, one of the world’s largest, was also disrupted on Sunday due to freezing fog. Almost 50 flights were cancelled. A spokesperson told the BBC: “We want to reassure passengers that our colleagues are working closely with our airline and air traffic control partners to bring them safely as quickly as possible.”

Traffic congestion on major roads

On Monday morning, traffic was still very chaotic on major roads around London, with major traffic jams due to snow and ice on the roads.

On Sunday evening, motorists were stuck in their cars for several hours, surprised by snow, ice and fog, especially in Sussex, south London, where police advised to “move only if necessary “.

Rail passengers were also suffering major delays and cancellations on Monday morning, while some London Underground lines were disrupted.

Down to -10 degrees

The company advised Southeastern to “do not travel” Monday morning, as some of its lines will remain closed for part of the morning and even all day for some, due to snow and ice.

The UK has been experiencing a particularly cold few days, with temperatures dropping as low as -10 degrees Celsius in some places, and falling snow and frost, particularly in the north and south of the country, although the meteorological agency (MET) points out that these temperatures are “unusual for this time of the year”.

The MET has issued yellow snow, fog and frost warnings for several areas, including the south east and south west, as well as northern Scotland.

On Sunday, four children were rescued from cardiac arrest and hospitalized in critical condition after falling into a frozen lake in Solihull, western England. According to witnesses, they were playing on the ice and fell into the water.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *