Winter Weather Causes Major Problems For European Airports
Thousands of travelers around Europe had their Christmas Eve plans interrupted because of heavy snowstorms.
In France, part of Charles de Gaulle airport was evacuated on Christmas Eve as a precautionary after a foot of snow accumulated on the roof. Officials were concerned the roof would collapse.
Hundreds of flights were also cancelled as the airport dealt with a shortage of de-icing fluid. Earlier on Friday, French officials asked that airlines cancel half of all scheduled departures and arrivals because of the shortage. Roughly 400 flights were affected. Officials have asked airlines to cancel a third of the scheduled flights for the rest of the day.
About 2,000 passengers spent the night at the two main airports in Paris on Thursday night.
In Belgium, several hundred passengers are expected to be stranded at the airport in Brussels overnight because of bad weather. A spokesman for the airport said that no flights would be allowed to land until later Friday evening.
Other European countries were also experiencing severe travel delays. According to the Associated Press:
In Britain, major airports said services were operating largely as normal as the country thawed out from days of frosty weather. However, Christmas travelers were contending with reduced rail services and icy roads. About a quarter of services were canceled on some rail routes.
In Germany, Duesseldorf airport closed for several hours Friday morning because of new snowfall, with some 65 flights canceled.
In Denmark, Police in the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm urged people to stay indoors, meaning many weren't able to reach families for the traditional Christmas Eve celebrations.
MSNBC has reported tens of thousands of people were stranded across Europe because of a combination of cancellations and delays of airport and high-speed rail service and also because of road restrictions.