Frankfurt Airport opens a runway after shutdown

Frankfurt Airport opens a runway after shutdown
Photo: DPA
Heavy snow and ice forced the complete closure of Frankfurt Airport, Germany's largest, for several hours on Tuesday. One runway was reopened, for take-offs only, in the afternoon.

“Since 13:30 pm (1230 GMT), we have one runway available. A few flights have been able to take off. Landings are still not possible,” an airport spokesman told AFP.

He said that 355 flights had been cancelled, out of a scheduled daily total of 1,250.

A band of wintry weather brought travel chaos as it moved from the north of Germany towards the south and west. Frankfurt Airport had before 10am already cancelled more than 200 of its 1,238 flights for the day. Domestic flights were hit the worst, along with inter-European trips.

But by midday de-icing crews were unable to keep up with the weather, forcing the entire airport to shut down. Airport officials said they hoped flights could resume later in the afternoon.

“Since 11:20am, there have been no take-offs or landings. In addition to heavy snow, we have also had snowdrifts,” an airport spokesman told news agency AFP.

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Passengers whose flights have been cancelled or those facing delays have been offered free food, showers, two telephone calls and email access when necessary as well as a hotel stay.

They will not be getting refunds though, as snow qualifies as an “exceptional circumstance.”

In Hesse, where Frankfurt is, lots of schools have been shut because of the snow and police have had to shut numerous roads.

The Local/AFP/jcw/hc

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