UPDATED: Heathrow snow disruption continues

A reduced flight schedule will be operating at Heathrow until 6am on Thursday, airport bosses confirmed today.

Parent company BAA warned: “Further snow is forecast across Europe today and there may be further delays and cancellations.”

In an update this morning which will be of little comfort to delayed passengers, the Heathrow owner said: “Given on-going weather problems affecting airports across Europe, we keep the situation under constant review.”

The company has listed all flights due to operate today (Tuesday) on its website. “Please do not travel to the airport unless your airline has confirmed you will be able to fly,” the airport’s operator said.

“If your flight is on the list, please contact your airline for confirmation before leaving for the airport.”

Regular updates will be provided on website, via Twitter, iPhone/Android mobile apps and a flight text service.

“We are truly sorry for the disruption the weather is causing to our passengers. We are doing everything we can to get you on your journey,” the statement said.

Earlier travel chaos was predicted to last up until at least Christmas Eve as airlines and airports attempt to clear a massive backlog of flights hit by snow and ice.

Problem are not confined to airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick with some Eurostar passengers having to queue for more than seven hours to board a train at St Pancras.

BAA confirmed that Heathrow’s second runway will remain closed today (Tuesday) and further disruption is expected due to the severity of the weather conditions. BA cancelled many short haul flights as a result.

Transport secretary Philip Hammond said that further disruption is likely to occur “through this week”. Sunday’s closure at Heathrow and continued reduced capacity presents “a very real challenge from which the system will struggle to recover quickly,” he said.

Gatwick has re-opened and BA said it expected to operate the “vast majority” of flights from there and London City Airport, although some may be subject to delays.

EasyJet is allowing passengers who have been disrupted to transfer their return flights free of charge to any airport served by the airline. The free transfers and refunds policy will run until January 3.

The airline plans to operate over 800 flights today – around 85% of its flying programme. It has recruited 180 additional call centre staff and “is doing the best it can” to keep up with the high volume of calls.

More than 60,000 emails and 36,000 texts have been sent to passengers in the last week as the carrier attempts gives updates on flights.

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