World

Snow, ice halt many Europe flights

Children in northern England took advantage of the snow to have fun, but at airports the mood was not so cheery.
Nigel Roddis/Reuters
Children in northern England took advantage of the snow to have fun, but at airports the mood was not so cheery.

LONDON — Hundreds of fights were canceled in Britain, France, and Germany Monday as snow and ice blanketed Western Europe.

London’s Heathrow airport canceled about 130 flights, 10 percent of the daily total, compared with 20 percent 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 its terminal floors.

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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.

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Forty percent of flights were canceled 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 canceled because of icy conditions caused by freezing rain overnight.

In Munich, which saw more than 5 inches of snow overnight, another 200 flights were canceled, 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 for the Monday morning commute, and the high-speed train that runs through Brussels from Paris to Germany was experiencing long delays.

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British domestic trains and Eurostar services from France and Belgium to London also were disrupted, and hundreds of schools across Britain were closed.

Associated Press