Severe fog causes flight chaosHundreds of flights cancelled

21 December 2006

 

travel airport queues

Travellers could face extensive delays

More than 350 flights are expected to be cancelled from Heathrow Airport today as thousands of Christmas travellers face a battle with the weather.

British Airways has already announced the cancellation of 180 flights from Heathrow, including all domestic and some European services.

Other airlines are now expected to follow suit because of the continued thick fog and an airport spokesman said he expected the total number of cancelled flights to be up to 350.

Travellers have been warned to check if their flight has been cancelled to avoid huge congestion at airports on what is one of the busiest days of the year for the country's airports.

Severe delays

All of Wednesday's BA Heathrow flights suffered severe delays and there were also many cancellations by the airline at Gatwick.

The cancellations were due to the severity of the fog which led air traffic controllers to restrict the number of hourly take-offs and landings.

European carriers Lufthansa, Alitalia and bmi were among other airlines hit at Heathrow on Wednesday and the same carriers are expected to suffer again today.

Mark Bullock, Managing Director of BAA Heathrow, said that Heathrow was suffering a capacity reduction of about 40 per cent. He said the bad weather could continue for a few more days.

Bad weather

He added: ‘The cancellations would need to continue as long as the weather conditions prevail. Sadly the forecast suggests we may have this weather for a few more days yet.

‘What we are doing is working very hard with the airlines to safeguard the welfare of the passengers, who sadly are stuck at the airport at this time.

‘Last night we made sure everyone was inside in the terminal buildings in the warm. We provided them with sleeping mats, blankets, catering facilities and hot drinks, and made them as comfortable as we could in a very difficult set of conditions.’