U.K. snow forces flight cancelations, traffic accidents

December 11, 2017
| Report Focus News

LONDON — Snow caused travel disruptions across central England and northern Wales on Sunday, grounding flights, shutting down roads and triggering traffic accidents.

Birmingham, London Stansted and London Luton airports briefly suspended flights as runways were cleared. The airports advised passengers to contact their airlines to check the status of flights.

Heathrow Airport just outside London, the busiest airport in Europe, expressed regret that weather conditions in the U.K. resulted in disruptions for passengers.

BBC reporter Matt Cole was stuck on his plane for 4.5 hours after his plane landed on the tarmac at Heathrow from Dublin. “I am now stuck in baggage hall hell.There is information to say where bags are and the baggage office counter is apparently closed. A recently landed pilot says my bags are somewhere amidst 19,000 on carousels,” Cole said.

Airports worked through the early evening to clear the backlog of flights. But in the world of interconnected air travel, the effects of any extended disruptions can persist for hours, with planes and flight crews quickly knocked out of rotation for their next assignments.

“Airlines are responsible for ensuring their flights are fully de-iced before they are operated, and this is resulting in some delays and cancellations,” Heathrow Airport said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Weather-related troubles were also evident on U.K. roads. Police advised people to stay home unless travel was critical.

The M1 motorway — the main highway between London and northeast England — was partially closed in Leicestershire.

Police in Wales warned against all but the most essential travel amid persistent snowfall that was forecast to last throughout Sunday. Strong winds slammed the Welsh coast. The Met Office warned of wind and rain for London and southern England, with gusts of up to 70 mph predicted.