25 Dec 2010

Heavy snow hits European airports, roads

2:00 pm on 25 December 2010

Heavy snow is continuing to hit travel in many parts of Europe, with flights out of Paris, Brussels and Germany all affected.

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport, where 2000 passengers were moved from a terminal because of snow on the roof.

In 2004 the same roof collapsed shortly after the terminal opened, killing four people.

Brussels airport was also badly hit, the BBC reports, with the Red Cross taking in hundreds of camp beds for passengers spending the night at the airport. Belgians were warned not to drive.

Hundreds of road accidents have been reported across Germany, and the railway line between Berlin and Hanover was blocked because of frozen overhead power lines.

Dublin airport in the Irish Republic was forced to suspend flights several times, but in neighbouring Britain international flights are getting back to normal after days of cancellations.

Shortage of de-icing fluid

The disruption at Charles de Gaulle was also blamed on a shortage of de-icing fluid, and the cancellation of flights led to 2000 people being stranded at the airport overnight.

The French authorities, struggling to cope with the country's third major snowfall of the winter, said fresh supplies of fluid were on their way but would not arrive before Monday.

Air France's head of operations, Michel Emeyriat, said he was extremely sorry for the delays, adding: "I haven't seen this [situation] in the past 10 years."

One passenger whose flight was cancelled, a Georgian student, George Gegechkori, said: "Professionally speaking, the airport should be prepared for this. It's not the Second Coming."