Heathrow cancels 260 flights, thanks to snow

An airport employee de-ices a British Airways plane on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport in London, January 19, 2013 after hundreds of flights were cancelled due to severe cold weather and snow. AFP/Getty Images

LONDON London's Heathrow airport canceled 260 flights — or 20 percent of its usual schedule — on Sunday because of snow and low visibility, causing a third day of misery for travelers.

Flights have been disrupted since Friday at Heathrow, one of Europe's busiest airports, which has seen long lines and stranded passengers camped out on its terminal floors.

Heathrow said it had spent millions of pounds improving its ability to cope with icy weather conditions after the airport was virtually shut down by snow for several days in December 2010.

But it said that unlike airports with spare runway capacity, it could not space out aircraft during low visibility without causing disruptions.

"Because Heathrow operates at almost full capacity, there is simply no room to reschedule the delayed flights," it said in a statement.

The airport said more cancellations are planned, as forecasters say snow is expected to blanket Britain in the coming week. On Monday, the airport plans to reduce its flight schedule by at least 10 percent, with more flights canceled if weather conditions at other European airports worsen.

Gatwick, the capital's second-busiest airport, said it was operating a normal service with some delays Sunday.

Comments