Hopes were raised among passengers camped out at London Heathrow today with news the airport planned to operate two-thirds of its departures.
No fresh snow has fallen since Saturday, with airport operator BAA stating staff are finding some success while working to clear the backlog of passengers stranded in terminals.
One of Heathrow’s two runways reopened last night, with hopes the second might return to full operations later today.
However, a further 60,000 passengers are expected to descend on the London airport during Wednesday, with fears these passengers may swamp available seats.
British Airways has put an updated flying schedule in place, with passengers urged not to head to the airport unless they have a confirmed booking for a flight.
Airport operator BAA has come under fierce attack from passengers for failing to prepare adequately for snow.
A lack of investment in snow clearing equipment and a shortage of de-icer continue to cause problems, while the threat of fresh snowfall is also causing concern.
Yesterday the British government offered to assist the airport in clearing snow. BAA rejected the offer stating the situation was under control.
“We are now working with airlines to return to a normal schedule as quickly as possible,” explained a statement.
However, BAA warned: “More cold weather is forecast and there may be further delays and cancellations.”
Prime minister David Cameron has attempted to quell anger over perceived failures at Heathrow.
At a news conference with coalition partner Nick Clegg yesterday, the prime minister said: “Even BAA’s harshest critics have conceded that given the amount of snow that has fallen, extensive disruption is understandable.
“But if it’s understandable that Heathrow had to close briefly, I’m frustrated on behalf of all those affected that it’s taking so long for the situation to improve.”
He added: “The people stuck here are having an incredibly difficult time, especially just a few days from Christmas, and everything must be done to either get them on holiday or get them home safely.”