Heathrow Airport hit by mass flight cancellations as freezing fog sweeps UK

More than 12,000 passengers with British Airways and other airlines are facing cancellations as flights from Heathrow airport are grounded due to freezing fog.

At least 85 BA flights were grounded on Monday as the “flow rate” of arrivals was reduced because of fog at the UK’s busiest airport, which is also experiencing severe cold – with a temperature of minus 8C.

Links with Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Milan Malpensa, Paris CDG and Stockholm are seeing multiple cancellations. One long-haul departure, to Miami, has been grounded due to weather.

On Sunday, at least 70 British Airways flights were cancelled due to fog at Heathrow. Twenty of them were outbound departures to domestic and European destinations that were due to “night stop” at the destination, with the corresponding inbound flights on Monday morning cancelled.

Some flights to London that were due in on Sunday are heavily delayed, with arrivals from Bologna, Larnaca, Madrid and Warsaw at least 14 hours late.

A British Airways spokesperson said: “Like other airlines, our schedule has been affected by the continued freezing fog weather conditions experienced across London.

“We’ve apologised to customers whose flights have been affected and are doing everything we can to get them on their way as quickly as possible.

Dozens of flights have been grounded

(PA Wire)

“We advise customers to check ba.com for the latest flight information.”

Even when on the ground, BA passengers reported problems. Martin Boakes, a passenger from Santiago in Chile, said: “We were told the fog has caused problems that prevented us from getting on the stand.

“Then there was shortage of buses to take us to the terminal. It was disappointing and frustrating.”

Single arrivals at Heathrow on Aer Lingus from Dublin, Air France from Paris CDG, Lufthansa from Frankfurt, SAS from Oslo and Swiss from Geneva are cancelled, together with the corresponding outbound flights.

Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Paris CDG have seen five cancellations to/from Heathrow each so far.

Other London airports appear largely unaffected.

There is a yellow warning in place in England for freezing fog on Monday, covering Yorkshire, the southeast and the Midlands.

Visibility could dip as low as 50m and forecasters have warned of an increased chance of accidents or injuries. Drivers have been told to expect probably slower travel times.

The Met Office has warned to travel disruption because of the fog

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Some are now worrying Britain could face a longer period of cold weather in February if a polar vortex forms.

This weather phenomenon was partly responsible for the Beast from the East that hit Britain in late February and early March in 2018. It also contributed to December 2010’s Big Freeze.

Britain could face even more extreme weather due to a rare phenomenon known as sudden stratospheric warming, which would shunt large quantities of cold low-level polar air over the UK.

However, speaking to The Independent The Met Office suggested such predictions should be treated cautiously.

Much of the UK woke up to below freezing temperatures

(PA)

“For the week ahead in the northern half of the UK we’re actually seeing temperatures above normal, and that will continue until about Thursday.

“In the south we’re still on the rather cold side but I think with a little bit more in the way of cloud developing over the next few days. Nights probably won’t be as cold as they have been,” said Craig Snell, senior operational meteorologist at Met Office.

Referring to the sudden stratospheric warming, Mr Snell said: “It’s too early to say, one if we will have a stratospheric warming, two how that strong that stratospheric warming would be, and three how that influences the UK. Unfortunately, we won’t know that until we get into February.”

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Poor visibility is forecast this morning at the airport and across the South East. While there may be minor changes to today’s schedule as a result of the weather, we want to reassure passengers that our colleagues are working in close collaboration with our airline and air traffic control partners to get them safely away on their journeys as quickly as possible. We encourage passengers to check with their airline for the latest information.”

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