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Weather Clearing Up; Airports To Be Cleaned Up By Brussels?

  • December 22nd, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

aircraft-snow-bbc.jpgThe European Union has growled at airports’ efforts to cope with the current blast of cold weather, calling them in for consultations and talking of new regulatory action.

The chilly political mood comes as services begin to edge back to normal at some of the major ports.   


kallas-siim.jpgThe Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas, (picture), on Tuesday announced he was bringing officials from the privately-run airport corporations to Brussels “in the coming days” to discuss the closures and delays in the current pre-Christmas chill.

He said snow was not unusual in Western Europe, better preparedness was “not an optional extra”, and had to be planned for and with necessary investment — particularly on part of the companies.

“I am extremely concerned about the level of disruption to travel across Europe caused by severe snow”, he said.

“ It is unacceptable and should not happen again…


“I have become increasingly concerned about the problems relating to the infrastructure available to airlines – airports and ground handling – during this severe period of snow.

“It seems at this stage that this is a ‘weak link’ in a chain which, under pressure, is contributing to severe disruption.”


Ice and snow arriving relatively early in the current Winter caused the cancellation of over 20000 scheduled flights up to yesterday (21.12.10),  with thousands of people held up at terminals hoping for Christmas holiday flights.

Intermittent closures occurred at airports in Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, London and Paris.

At Heath Row equipment available for clearing snow could not be deployed where aircraft were crowded into available space, and at Brussels, after clearing of the runway, planes with iced-up wings were still grounded, waiting for anti-freeze to get through  to the airport by road.

On Wednesday, Frankfurt Airport had come out of a three-hour closure operating two-thirds of normal flights, and schedules were being brought back to normal as runways were being reopened at Heath Row.

The European Union has comprehensive laws covering aviation, including a charter of passengers’ rights, a banned list of airlines (some of which once-respected national flag carriers) kept out of EU airspace on safety grounds, and regulation of charges levied by the airports.


AFP, Vancouver Sun, “EU blasts ‘unacceptable’ airport chaos”, 21.12.10., (22.12.10).

EC, Brussels, “Statement by Vice President Kallas on air travel disruption across Europe”, 21.12.10. MEMO/10/700., (22.12.10).

EC, Brussels, “EC – Mobility and Transport”., (22.12.10).

EC Brussels, European Law on Aviation:
EUR-Lex Access to European Law 32009L0012
, (22.12.10).

Pictures   bbc, eu