Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Big Freeze Brings Travel Misery

By Sunil Patel

Thousands of passengers are facing further travel misery as the freezing conditions continue to cause havoc to air and rail networks.

Many travellers were caught cold yesterday by the unfolding chaos at Heathrow Airport and spent yet another night huddled together with foil blankets on the floor of terminal buildings. 

One frustrated passenger Andrew L tweeted his frustration, “Dear BAA if only you’d spent less time building a shopping centre and more time running an airport.”

Others described the response to the crisis as having “no organisation” and there being a “lack of information” for passengers.    

Snow ploughs have been working frantically to clear snow from the second southern runway which is now finally open.

The world’s busiest airport is expected to operate a near normal service from this morning onwards.

Speaking this morning on BBC News BAA chief executive Colin Matthews apologised for the slow response and said his staff had been doing everything they could to get airport moving again.

He said “We were hit by snow which I haven’t seen in my lifetime and it has taken us longer than expected to take the snow from under the aircraft and from the stands, and we’re really sorry for the disruption that resulted from that. 

“At the same time we are doing everything we can for the passengers who are here; we have secured more hotel rooms, we are providing hot food, we are putting up marquees where we can to provide additional shelter, and we are taking our staff out of our offices and having them work in the terminals,”  Mr Matthews added. 

Photograph from PA.

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