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Government offers military assistance to BAA

The Government has offered military assistance to the airport operator BAA amid continuing disruption at Heathrow, David Cameron said today.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Mr Cameron spoke of his frustration at the delay in getting the airport moving again.

"It is understandable that Heathrow had to close briefly, I am frustrated on behalf of all those affected that it is taking so long for the situation to improve," he said.

Mr Cameron said that there had been "intensive discussions" between BAA and Transport Secretary Philip Hammond over how best to ensure that normal flying capacity is resumed as soon as possible.

"I can tell you now that snow ploughs are on that second runway as we speak and the second runway will be open by this evening," he said.

"We are also working to ensure necessary de-icer and equipment reaches airports as required," he said.

"The people stuck there are having an incredibly difficult time, especially just a few days from Christmas, and everything must be done to either get them on holiday or get them home safely."