European Snow May Disrupt Travel for Third Day After London City Shutdown
Air services across Europe may be in for a third day of disruptions, with snow and bad weather threatening more flight cancellations and delays like those that hit airports yesterday, including in Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Edinburgh.
The runway at London’s City Airport was closed for most of yesterday and is unlikely to open again until at least 6:30 a.m. today, spokeswoman Geraldine Nolan said by telephone late yesterday.
Frankfurt Airport is experiencing delays and flight cancellations because of the weather, according to its website. Deutsche Lufthansa AG has had flights delayed and canceled in Frankfurt and Munich as a result of the snowfall, the airline said on its website.
Cold temperatures and snow are forecast for Germany today and tomorrow, according to AccuWeather.Com. The earliest widespread snowfall of a British winter since 1993 led to “icy roads and heavy snow” across most parts of the country, the Met Office said on its website, and cold conditions are expected to continue in the center and the northeast of the U.K. today.
London Gatwick Airport said it canceled 10 of 575 scheduled flights yesterday. Edinburgh Airport was open after shutting in the morning “due to heavy snowfall,” BAA Airports Ltd. said on its website. Passengers at London’s Stansted airport were advised to contact their airline before travelling. Some flights were also stopped out of Amsterdam airport.
Flight services in Europe have also been disrupted as flight attendants in Finland started an open-ended strike in a work-rules dispute. Finnair Oyj said it will cancel more than half its flights, and SAS Group’s Blue1 unit will cut at least 20 percent of services after the Finnish Cabin Crew Union stopped work yesterday.
Weather disruption could cost the U.K. economy 1.2 billion pounds ($1.9 billion) a day, as supply services are affected and shopping disrupted in the run-in to Christmas, according to RSA Insurance Group Plc, the U.K.’s biggest non-life insurer by market value.
“If the weather continues for the next two weeks, as the Met Office is predicting, this figure will quickly spiral to more than 12 billion pounds, dwarfing the hit we took in January,” RSA Director David Greaves said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
“The origins of the winds are from Russia and Siberia, so it’s pretty cold,” said Met Office spokesman Barry Gromett yesterday. Many areas today will be “blanketed in snow.”
U.K. power for next-day delivery rose to its highest level in 22 months Nov. 29 as natural gas costs increased and the weather conditions boosted demand.
National Grid Plc, the U.K.’s gas and power network manager, said demand rose 5 percent to 435 million cubic meters in the 24 hours through 6 a.m. yesterday, 90 million more than normal for the time of year. That’s the highest gas usage since Jan. 13.
Natural gas is used to heat about 80 percent of homes and businesses and to generate about half of the country’s electricity. The U.K. is Europe’s biggest gas user.
Heavy snowfall in central France cut power to as many as 25,000 households Nov. 29 as Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest operator of nuclear reactors, asked customers to limit use amid a cold snap expected to last a week.
-- With assistance by Alan Purkiss, Lars Paulsson, Catherine Airlie in London, Oliver Suess in Munich, Cornelius Rahn, Mike Gavin in Frankfurt, Holger Elfes in Dusseldorf, Fred Pals in Amsterdam, Rodney Jefferson in Edinburgh, Tara Patel in Paris, Ola Kinnander in Stockholm, Kati Pohjanpalo in Helsinki. Editors: John Simpson, Ben Livesey