The big thaw has set in as Britain recovers from the heaviest snowfalls in 18 years. But airports across the country continue to suffer disruption today.
BAA has said it has now cleared most of the snow, enabling airports to resume a vastly improved service. A small number of cancellations are still expected as a knock on effect from yesterday’s disruptions.The airport operator said that more than half of Monday’s planned 1,350 flights were cancelled, including 361 arrivals and 430 departures. Short-haul flights were cancelled first to make way for long haul arrivals.
Heathrow is almost fully operational again with both runways open today after snowploughs worked through the night to clear snow and ice. Only a handful of flights have been cancelled so far today.
Gatwick Airport remains open and airlines are planning to operate a near full service today, although there are a small number of cancellations.
Stansted is back to normal with no planned cancellations and the Stansted Express operating a normal service. However Southampton has just reopened this afternoon and services are heavily disrupted.
The situation is better in Scotland with Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen all fully open with minor disruptions.
A BAA spokesman described the snow as “the heaviest in decades”. He said: “Heathrow’s full snow operation - consisting of 58 snow cutters, ploughs, and de-icers have been working around the clock since 3pm [on Sunday] on double shift to clear the snow and ice.”
Yesterday morning a Cyprus Airways jet from Larnaca was involved in minor incident when its front wheel slipped on to the grass while taxiing towards Terminal 1 but no one was hurt.
Thousands of passengers queued at Terminal 5 in scenes reminiscent of its shambolic opening last year.
But whereas the mood then was of anger and disbelief, on Monday it was of simple resignation.
Despite almost no prospect of getting on a flight, many queued for hours so they could re-book.