Winter storm travel chaos is set to intensify after blizzard conditions forced the closure of many UK airports and ground transport links.
More than 160 flights were cancelled across the UK and Ireland yesterday with BA suspending 48 services from Heathrow and London City.
Gatwick issued a travel alert warning of a “large number” of flight cancellations and delays today (Thursday) with travellers urged to check with their airline before leaving for the airport.
Scottish travellers have been particularly badly hit with as many as 200 passengers stranded overnight at Glasgow airport where emergency volunteers handed out Red Cross beds and bedding.
The airport announced on Thursday morning that its runway won’t be open until at least 3pm this afternoon.
With no indication when weather conditions will improve, Thomas Cook Airlines delayed departures from Glasgow to Tenerife and Lanzarote by 24 hours, with the inbound flights also put back until tomorrow.
Glasgow airport operations director Mark Johnston said: “I’d just like to apologise on behalf of everyone at the airport.
“We had all our resources out and hopefully we can learn from this and can improve in future.
“We are working with the airlines tonight to understand what the morning looks like so please check with them before you travel to the airport.”
A red warning for snow, meaning a potential risk to life, is in place in Scotland until 10am today.
Edinburgh airport said: “We are experiencing some flight delays and some airlines have cancelled flights. You should check the status of your flight with your airline before travelling to Edinburgh airport.”
Aberdeen airport warned of “many cancellations” of flights to and from the London area today.
“Our runway remains open, excluding for essential snow clearing operations,” the airport said, adding that British Airways departures at 9.20am and 10.40am were due to operate as usual.
But Flybe flights to and from Edinburgh and Glasgow have been cancelled until midday and until 10am at Aberdeen.
Heavy snow forecast for Jersey and Guernsey also forced the grounding of Flybe services until 11am.
London City airport, which was forced to suspend more than 30 departures due to heavy snow in the capital early on Wednesday, continued to warn of delays and cancellations today.
Other airports badly affected by snow included Leeds Bradford and Dublin.
BA is cutting flights from Heathrow today and tomorrow (Friday).
“Other UK and Irish airports are also continuing to experience difficult weather conditions and we expect flights to and from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin on Thursday 1 March to be particularly affected,” the airline said in a latest travel alert.
“We have published our revised schedules for Thursday and have notified affected customers and offered them alternative flights or refunds. We will publish amendments to our Friday schedules as early as we can on Thursday morning.
“The weather forecasts continue to be unpredictable and there may be further revisions to some airports’ schedules in the days ahead.”
Virgin Atlantic is also reducing the number of its flights due to operate from Heathrow today.
“As the poor weather moves cross the UK, please make sure you check flight status before travelling to the airport,” the carrier said.
In an update this morning Edinburgh airport tweeted: “Travel conditions in Scotland this morning mean that the airport & airlines do not have the critical mass of staff needed to run operations securely.
“The airport is therefore closed until this position is reviewed at 1000 today. We ask that passengers do not come to the airport unless their airline has confirmed that their flight is scheduled.
“The safety of our passengers and our staff are our priority, and we ask people to make safe decisions regarding their travel.”
Ryanair says all of its flights from East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports have been cancelled for Thursday. In Ireland, all Thursday flights from Cork and Kerry airports have been cancelled and “a number of” flights departing Dublin on both Thursday and Friday.
The budget carrier said it expects the conditions to cause further delays and cancellations through Friday and urged customers to check its website before travelling to the airport.
“We are doing everything we can to re-accommodate customers and we apologise for any inconvenience caused by these disruptions which are entirely out of our control,” a statement from the airline said. “All customers have been notified of their options.”
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