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Passengers stranded due to heavy snowfall

December 19, 2010

Airline travellers sleep at Zaventem international airport near Brussels. – Reuters

BERLIN: Frankfurt airport, Germany's busiest, cancelled some 490 flights Sunday due to heavy snowfall which has created chaos throughout the European air traffic network, a spokeswoman said.

“Fresh snow is expected to fall around midday and could continue until midnight,” she added, predicting further flights from the around 1,300 scheduled to be axed during the course of the day.

London's Heathrow Airport was not accepting any arrivals Sunday and was allowing only a handful of departures after snow and ice forced the closure of runways, but was preparing for a full reopening Monday, a statement on its website said.

A Pakistan Airlines Flight was stranded in Paris after taking off from Islamabad for Heathrow Airport. Similarly, another flight taking off from Lahore this morning for London was stuck in Germany.

Hundreds of stranded passengers had to spend the night on beds set up in the airport terminals, some for a second night in a row.

Unusually heavy snowfall had already seen hundreds of flights scrapped Friday and Saturday, including several due to severe winter weather at other European airports, as the holiday travel season got underway.

Flag carrier Lufthansa advised passengers to use the German rail service, which was also hit by delays and cancellations.