Ice grounds outbound Brussels flights till Wednesday
Monday 20 December 2010
Flights from Brussels will be grounded from later Monday until Wednesday because of a lack of de-icing liquid following heavy snow, an airport spokesman told AFP.
"Planes will no longer take off in the coming hours, due to a lack of de-icing liquid," Jan Van der Cruysse said, adding that new stocks would not be available before "Wednesday morning."
The spokesman was unable to spell out the exact time the flights suspension would kick in, depending on how quickly the last stocks run out, but the airport website later listed cancellations after 5:00 pm (1600 GMT).
Flights to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt, London, Malta, Oslo, Prague, Vienna and Warsaw were all cancelled.
The airport's French supplier has run out of raw materials needed to make the liquid due to a ban on heavy vehicles travelling on many roads in the region.
"No pilot worth his salt will agree to take off unless his plane has been de-iced," Van der Cruysse added, although he stressed that "the airport remains open" for landings.
"It's the airlines' responsibility, but they are hardly likely to take the risk of having their planes blocked in Brussels if they can't take off with sub-zero temperatures" set to stay.
Some 1,400 travellers were stranded over the weekend at Brussels airport alone as the winter cold snap threw flight schedules into disarray just days before Christmas.
Following a weekend of disruption at other major European hubs including London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Brussels, airports struggled Monday to clear the backlog.
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