London Heathrow cancels more flights as snow continues

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 20, 2013 8:08 AM
London Heathrow cancels more flights as snow continues

LONDON (Reuters) - London's Heathrow airport cancelled 10 percent of flights on Monday, a day after it cut its capacity by a fifth, and said services could face further delays with more snowfall expected.

Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, said it had cut around 130 flights - most operated by IAG'S British Airways - from its schedule on Monday to allow more space between aircraft because of low visibility.

"Many airports have plenty of spare runway capacity so aircraft can be spaced out more during low visibility without causing delays and cancellations. Because Heathrow operates at almost full capacity, there is simply no room to reschedule the delayed flights," a Heathrow spokesman said.

The airport scrapped some 250 flights on Sunday and said the decision had helped it operate smoothly.

Further light snowfalls are forecast through Monday and Tuesday, national weather service the Met Office said.

Ferrovial's Heathrow has spent 36 million pounds ($57 million) on upgrading its winter weather equipment since 2010 - a year that saw it face heavy criticism after it almost shut down when snow hit just before Christmas. It now has 130 snow-clearing vehicles.

London's second airport, Gatwick, said it was operating as normal on Monday morning but that delays and some flight cancellations were likely because of adverse weather across Europe.

Smaller Stansted airport said that it was open and operational but that it expected to see some Ryanair flights cancelled during the day.

East Midlands Airport, in central England, said its single runway would remain closed until later on Monday, while City Airport - close to London's financial district - re-opened its one runway after closing it earlier in the morning.

($1 = 0.6304 British pounds)

(Reporting by Rhys Jones, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)