Across the country air passengers faced severe delays and disruption. At Heathrow nearly 800 flights were cancelled and others faced long delays after 11cm of snow fell at the airport. One landing aircraft skidded off a runway on to a grassed area, but there were no injuries.
Both of the airport's runways were temporarily closed before one later reopened. BAA said the airport was using many of its 58 snow ploughs, snow blowers and other specialist vehicles as it battled to reopen runways. Industry sources said most long-haul flights were able to land as they were given priority. But short-haul flights from Europe were among the first to be cancelled. Some were diverted to airports not affected.
Manchester airport accepted 13 flights from the South-east, and passengers from Milan, Krakow, Alicante and Dublin, heading to Bristol, were flown to Bournemouth, Exeter and Cardiff. About 200 Ryanair flights were cancelled, and all BA flights from Heathrow were cancelled until 5pm. Flights were also disrupted at Gatwick, Luton, Southampton, Leeds Bradford and Newcastle, while London City and Edinburgh airports closed.