Freeze causes chaos at airports


Passengers sleep at the airport in Frankfurt, central Germany (AP)

Snowfall, ice and freezing temperatures forced many travellers to camp out overnight at Paris and Frankfurt airports.

While Paris’ air traffic was returning to normal, more disruptions were expected at Germany’s Frankfurt Airport. Many European commuters suffered through traffic jams on slushy streets.

After snowfall of 10cm (4ins), bus services shut down, traffic backed up, trains slowed down and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport was forced to close for an hour and a half.

Some passengers huddled under blankets after a long night sleeping at the airport.

The sun was out in Paris on Thursday, melting snow off roofs, but traffic was still badly disrupted.

The Eiffel Tower’s first floor reopened to tourists, a day after it was shut down. Officials say they can not use salt there because it could cause damage to the monument.

A combination of snow, rain and freezing temperatures caused traffic chaos in Germany, with hundreds of accidents and scores of miles-long traffic jams. Trains and flights were also delayed.

Dozens of injuries were reported, including nearly 50 in more than 600 accidents in North Rhine-Westphalia alone. One person died in a crash in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Frankfurt Airport was shut down for more than four hours through the night after its runways were deemed unsafe. Extra cots and chairs were brought in to accommodate the 2,000 to 3,000 people who spent the night in the terminal.

The runways were fully operational on Thursday but because of the backlog passengers were being asked to contact their airlines about the status of their flights, and widespread delays and some cancellations were expected.

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