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Essex: Passengers frustrated after snow closes Stansted runway

PUBLISHED: 12:39 05 December 2012

Passengers queue at Stansted Airport in Essex following delays and cancellations with some flights due to snow fall overnight

Passengers queue at Stansted Airport in Essex following delays and cancellations with some flights due to snow fall overnight

Passengers stranded after snow forced Stansted Airport to close its runway for two hours have spoken of their frustration.

The Essex airport had to close at 6.20am, just as the day’s first flights were due to operate.

Long queues formed throughout the morning as travellers hoped to find alternative flights.

Among them were Steven Ingram, 56, and Stephen Allen, 49, both from Watford, who were due to fly to Spain to watch Barcelona’s match against Benfica this evening.

Spurs fan Mr Ingram said: “We left home at 3am for a 6.35am flight. We were on board and ready to go and then were told we’d have to get off again.

“The crazy thing was, we had to come back through passport control even though we hadn’t gone anywhere.

“We’ve been queuing for several hours and we’re still hoping we will get to Barcelona for the match tonight.

“With the travel to the airport, £65 match tickets and all the other costs involved, this could set us back quite a lot of money.”

Mr Allen, who supports Leeds United, said: “The most frustrating thing is nobody is telling us what’s going on.”

Tony and Marion Smith, from Bawdeswell, Norfolk, were due to fly to Fuerteventura to begin a three-week holiday.

They had also boarded their 6.30am flight when they were told it would not be taking off.

Mr Smith said: “The most annoying thing is the lack of information. We have tried visiting the Ryanair website but it doesn’t seem to be updating.

“You can’t help the weather, but there could be better organisation when problems like this happen.”

Mark Davison, head of communications for Stansted, said 23 outgoing and 20 incoming flights were cancelled. Most of these were Ryanair which operates the majority of flights from the airport.

He said: “We had early snow followed by falling temperatures and then more snow, which settled on ice, compounding the problem. It was certainly worse than had been forecast.

“We had the runway open again within two hours which, under the circumstances, we are satisfied with. A total area of 500,000 square metres needed to be cleared.

“Obviously nobody likes to be delayed and we have sympathy for those who have been affected, but we are doing everything we can to help them.”

A Suffolk NHS trust has been ranked one of the best of the country, despite experiencing its most challenging winter on record.

Drivers are advised that it is “highly likely” the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk will shut during tomorrow morning’s rush hour amid forecasts of 65mph gusts.

Two teenagers wanted in connection with the attempted murder of a 17-year-old in Colchester are still at large following a “targeted” attack.

A school near Bury St Edmunds is helping to raise funds to support education in Tanzania through a non-uniform day.

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