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Snow Limits Frankfurt to Two Runways as Eurostar Slims Timetable

Frankfurt, Europe’s third-busiest hub, has only two of four runways available, prompting the scrapping of more than 100 of 1,250 scheduled flights, mostly due to a backlog that’s left planes out of position. Photographer: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
Frankfurt, Europe’s third-busiest hub, has only two of four runways available, prompting the scrapping of more than 100 of 1,250 scheduled flights, mostly due to a backlog that’s left planes out of position. Photographer: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

March 13 (Bloomberg) -- Snow that carpeted much of northern Europe yesterday disrupted air travel in Germany and France for a second day as rail operators including Eurostar Group Ltd. struggled to restore a full service.

Frankfurt, Europe’s third-busiest hub, has only two of four runways available, prompting the scrapping of more than 100 of 1,250 scheduled flights, mostly due to a backlog that’s left planes out of position. That number may increase, though efforts are under way to open all landing strips by the end of the day.

“Yesterday was extreme even for a winter day and will keep weighing on the situation for the next couple of days,” said Matthias Nosseck, a spokesman for Fraport AG, the airport’s owner. “Things are improving though, as it’s stopped snowing.”

Channel Tunnel rail operator Eurostar has scrapped eight services, two in each direction between London and Paris and London and Brussels, and said slower running may add an hour to journey times. The company, which shut down entirely yesterday, advised people to limit travel to “essential” journeys.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG, whose main hub is Frankfurt, listed more than 100 canceled flights on its website as of 10:15 a.m. Munich, the carrier’s second German hub, is operating normally.

Ice formed by another dip in temperatures overnight brought bumper-to-bumper traffic on 170 kilometers (106 miles) of highways in northern France, with trucks worst affected. Trains connecting Paris with surrounding towns were delayed or canceled, though the city’s subway has returned to normal.

Air France said on its website that it expects a progressive return to the usual schedule today. Paris Orly airport is still suffering reduced arrivals because of snow, according to air traffic supervisory agency Eurocontrol.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Weiss in Frankfurt at rweiss5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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