Flights bound for London Heathrow resumed on Monday even as heavy snowfall started to threaten Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Paris-Orly International airports, airline officials said. A spokesperson for Air France said unexpected snowfall disrupted operations at Paris-CDG and Paris-Orly since early Monday morning. “Severe delays are to be expected throughout the day from both Parisian airports. Air France may have to cancel further flights as a result of the current weather conditions,” the spokesman said. No flight has been cancelled from the UAE. A spokesperson for Lufthansa said all Lufthansa flights from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Frankfurt are on schedule. UAE’s flag carriers, Emirates airline and Etihad Airways, said they resumed their flights to London Heathrow on Monday after the reopening of the airport. Emirates airline president Tim Clark said all other airports in the UK, including London Gatwick, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Glasgow remain open and Emirates flights to and from them, as well as Emirates’ other European destinations are operating as close to schedule as possible, but are dependent on the constantly changing weather conditions. He advised all Emirates customers due to travel to or from Europe to check the status of their flighton for possible changes or delays, before departing for the airport. “Flight information will be updated on the website every five minutes. Emirates apologises for any inconvenience caused.”
Etihad also resumed operations to London following the phased opening of Heathrow airport, which had been closed for two days as a result of freezing weather conditions. James Hogan, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said EY11 departed from Abu Dhabi at 9.25am (delayed from 2.40am) and EY19 departed on schedule at 8.40am. Etihad also operated EY17 on schedule departing at 1.30pm. An additional flight to Manchester departed at 2pm from Abu Dhabi with passengers taken by coach to London. The EY17 Abu Dhabi to London flight that was diverted to Frankfurt on Saturday operated to Manchester, due to capacity restraints in London, and the passengers were taken by coach to London. “We are very pleased to be able to resume flights to London Monday morning and thank our customers for their patience and understanding during this challenging period,” he said. Etihad operates three flights to London per day. The airline encourages customers to check its website for the latest flight information. “Etihad’s operations teams have worked tirelessly since the disruption began and can now implement their plans to ensure our passengers get to their homes and holidays in time for Christmas,” he added.
However, even as Heathrow Airport reopened on Monday, British Airways said the severe weather continued to cause significant disruption to its operations. A spokesperson said: “As a result, there will be a limited schedule of flights to and from the airport. We are adjusting our schedule to fit with the capacity of the airport for both flight departures and arrivals.” The spokesperson further said that British Airways has published its schedule up until 1200 on website and are awaiting further updates from BAA before publishing the schedule for the remainder of the day. “Customers should continue to check their flight status as more snow is forecast Monday afternoon, which could cause further disruption to airport operations. We urge our customers not to travel to the airport unless they have a confirmed booking on one of the flights that is operating,” the advisory said. British Airways is encouraging its customers whose travel is not essential to cancel their flight, in return for a full refund, or to consider changing their flight to another date over the next 12 months. “At Gatwick and London City, we are aiming to run as many flights as possible, although there is a reduced operation as a result of the weather disruption. We are extremely sorry that customers are being inconvenienced and understand how frustrating this is. Our staff are working around the clock to do everything they can to help. We ask customers for their patience and understanding. If their flight has been cancelled they can either chose to re-book on an alternative flight or they can claim a full refund,” the spokesperson added. – Khaleejtimes