Major delays and cancellations persisted on Tuesday at European airports including London’s Heathrow, and on the Eurostar train link, leaving thousands stranded across Europe as Christmas approached.
Predicted snowfall at Heathrow did not materialize overnight, allowing cleanup crews to intensify their work, but more than half the flights at Europe’s busiest international hub were expected to be cancelled.
Travellers were told not to come to the airport unless they checked with their airline to confirm their flight was operating. Major delays were projected.
Eurostar, which links England to France and Belgium by train, also advised passengers to cancel their trips in the coming days and receive a full refund unless travel was absolutely necessary.
Long lines snaked outside the St. Pancras terminal in central London for the second day in a row as passengers tried to catch their trains.
There were problems in Germany as well. Fresh snowfall forced Frankfurt airport, Germany’s biggest, to suspend takeoffs and landings for a few hours early Tuesday - the latest setback to beleaguered pre-Christmas travellers in Europe and beyond.
Airport authorities said flights were suspended a little after 5 a.m. (0400 GMT). The first runway was reopened for business at about 8-30 a.m. (0730 GMT) and officials were working to clear the rest. Some 300 flights were cancelled.
Frankfurt has seen hundreds of cancellations over recent days - often a result of disruption elsewhere in Europe, including major problems at Heathrow.
The situation in Brussels eased overnight as a feared shortage of de-icing liquid failed to happen. More flights than expected were able to take off after the airport managed to secure enough liquid to treat most airplanes departing on Tuesday.
The airport had previously warned that it would run out of the liquid, which aircraft may need to land and take off in cold weather, by Monday evening and that it wasn’t expecting a new delivery until Wednesday morning.
“Most flights are expected to operate as scheduled, in spite of adverse weather conditions,” the airport said on its Twitter feed, although its departure board showed more than half of flights either cancelled or delayed.