LONDON – Hundreds of flights were cancelled in Britain, France and Germany on Monday as snow and ice blanketed Western Europe.
London’s Heathrow airport cancelled about 130 flights, 10 per cent of the daily total, compared to 20 per cent on Sunday.
Flights have been disrupted since Friday at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, which has seen long lines and stranded passengers camping out on the floors of its terminals.
Heathrow says it has spent millions improving its winter resilience since the airport was virtually shut down by snow for several days in December 2010. But it says low visibility means it must leave bigger gaps between planes, triggering delays and cancellations.
Forty per cent of flights were cancelled at Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris.
Frankfurt airport, Germany’s largest, told the dpa news agency Monday that 180 flights had been cancelled because of icy conditions caused by freezing rain overnight.
In Munich, which saw 13 centimetres (more than 5 inches) of snow overnight, another 200 flights were cancelled, and long delays were expected at both airports.
In northern Germany, slick roads outside Berlin caused a stretch of a major highway to be closed during the Monday morning commute, and the high-speed train that runs through Brussels from Paris to Germany was experiencing long delays.
British domestic trains and Eurostar services from France and Belgium to London also were disrupted, and hundreds of schools across Britain were closed.