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Storm Ciara: Tens of thousands of airline passengers hit by cancellations

At least 18 long-haul departures from Heathrow have been grounded, mainly on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Saturday 08 February 2020 20:18 GMT
UK weather: The latest Met Office forecast

As Storm Ciara sweeps in from the Atlantic, bringing winds of up to 100mph, airline schedules have been drastically cut.

The “flow rate” at Heathrow airport, which is expecting severe crosswinds, has been reduced, with commensurate cancellations.

The Independent calculates at least 25,000 passengers have been hit by cancellations to and from Heathrow.

British Airways’ passengers are worst affected. The airline has cancelled at least 140 flights to and from Heathrow, including nine long-haul round-trips.

BA has grounded services to Dallas-Fort Worth, Dubai, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York JFK, Philadelphia, San Diego and Vancouver. The move will affect about 5,000 passengers.

Virgin Atlantic has cancelled six inbound flights to Heathrow, including arrivals from Atlanta and Washington DC. Six outbound departures, including to Boston and New York Newark, are also grounded.

The airline is telling passengers: “The safety and comfort of our customers is our absolute priority and we are doing our utmost to get everyone away as soon as possible.

“We’ve been rebooking as many customers as possible on to the next available flights.

“If you need to extend your hotel or accommodation arrangements up to your new date of departure please do so; reasonable costs for this, along with meals, will be reimbursed to customers unable to return home.”

In addition many British Airways short-haul trips have been axed, with a dozen Amsterdam flights and 10 between Heathrow and Edinburgh cancelled.

Barcelona, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Nice and Paris also face multiple cancellations.

Among domestic links, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness, Leeds Bradford and Manchester have had flights cut.

A spokesperson for BA said: “Like all airlines operating in to and out of the UK tomorrow, we will be affected by Storm Ciara.

“Safety is at the heart of everything we do, so we’re merging a number of flights to avoid operating when the winds are at their strongest.

“We’re doing everything we can to minimise disruption, including offering those who are booked on any short haul services tomorrow a range of flexible rebooking options.”

Other airlines have made multiple cancellations of Heathrow flights, including Aer Lingus to Cork, Dublin and Shannon; KLM to Amsterdam; Lufthansa to Frankfurt and Munich.

United has cancelled its overnight inbound arrival from Chicago, and the outbound service. An American Airlines flight from and to New York has also been axed.

In addition, an Emirates flight from Dubai to Heathrow and back has been cancelled.

At Gatwick airport, the busiest single-runway airport in the world, the only cancellations so far are on British Airways to and from Cologne, Jersey, Malaga and Milan.

The biggest airline at the Sussex airport, easyJet, said: ”We are planning to operate our full flying programme as scheduled,”

London City airport has many cancellations for Sunday afternoon. The British Airways business class only link to New York is grounded, along with KLM flights to and from Amsterdam, Lufthansa to and from Frankfurt and Swiss to and from Zurich.

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