left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Heathrow Airport cancels half flights

Updated: 2012-02-06 09:53
( Xinhua)

LONDON - London's Heathrow Airport on Sunday cancelled 50 percent of flights after a heavy snowfall overnight, and freezing temperatures.

A spokesman for BAA, which owns Heathrow as well as five other airports in Britain, said the decision was taken "with airlines and air traffic control yesterday to reduce the flight schedule in advance."

"By cancelling flights in advance airlines have been able to rebook some people on to flights that are departing, and passengers have had better quality information about whether they can fly or not," the spokesman added.

Heathrow Chief Operating Officer Normand Boivin said that "this decision ensures that the greatest number of passengers can fly with the minimum amount of disruption."

"It also means that those passengers whose flights are cancelled will know in advance, and can make alternative arrangements or rebook in relative comfort," he said.

Operations at the airport were further restricted in the evening when freezing fog settled in the area.

Heathrow Airport, in the western suburbs of London, is the largest in Britain and one of the busiest airports in the world. On a normal Sunday it handles about 1300 flights.

Heathrow Airport and its operators were severely criticized during a period of very cold weather and snow in 2010 for poor handling of the situation. At that time, runways and taxiing areas were covered in snow and ice, and many planes were trapped at the 200 plane stands at Heathrow, unable to take off.

This led to cancellation of outgoing flights, and the airport seized up and was unable to accept many incoming flights.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said Sunday that the airport's snow plan set in motion on Saturday "had worked well" as "airplanes are taking off and landing, the runways and tarmac are clear of snow."