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Big freeze: Christmas travel plans in chaos
Published on 19 Dec. 2010 12:52 AM IST
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Christmas travel plans for more than a million people in Britain were thrown into chaos as snow and freezing temperatures wreaked havoc across the country forcing airlines to cancel flights, a media report said Saturday. Arctic conditions forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights from terminals up and down the country on what is traditionally the busiest weekend of the year for the travelling public, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Runway closures at Heathrow and Gatwick airports in London led to delays of several hours for those who did manage to fly, but with more heavy snow forecast for Sunday, travellers have been warned that many more flights could be axed. A total of 630,000 people were due to fly in and out of Heathrow this weekend, with another 240,000 due to pass through Gatwick and tens of thousands more at regional airports, the report said.
Sub-zero temperatures could last until the New Year, forecasters warned, casting doubt on the plans of four million Britons who had been planning to leave the country for holidays abroad. The big freeze also brought roads and railway lines to a standstill in many parts of the country.
The travel misery began Friday, when staff at Heathrow were said to have shut one runway in order to concentrate on keeping the remaining runway clear of ice.
The weather conditions forced the cancellation of 150 outbound and 106 inbound flights at Heathrow, while other aircraft had to queue for hours both to take off and to disembark their passengers.

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