Weather: Passengers stranded after snow closes Stansted runway

STRANDED passengers spent the night at Stansted Airport after snow forced the runway to close and many airlines to cancel flights.

Ryanair, the largest operator at the airport, cancelled all their flights in and out of the Essex airport all day on Saturday until 10am on Sunday.

Other airlines were forced to follow suit and there were a total of 142 cancellations during the four-hour closure of the runway, between 2-6pm on Saturday, for snow clearing.

Eight flights due to land at Stansted had to be diverted to other airports, including Birmingham.

Before the runway was shut, 30 flights from other airports which had been hit by snow earlier in the day, such as Gatwick and Heathrow, were diverted to Stansted causing a delay to scheduled departures.

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A spokesman for Stansted Airport said: “The week before Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for the airport and there have been considerable delays for many passengers. We have been working hard with the airlines to clear the backlog and get people to their destinations.

“Some passengers did choose to camp down for the night and the airport’s duty team made sure that people were catered for and told about what was happening. Retailers stayed open for as long as they could.”

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Stranded passengers used the social networking site Twitter to express their dismay at the travel chaos and one person complained that the information desk at the airport was empty.

The airport was open as normal yesterday, but many passengers faced delays as the airlines tried to clear the backlog. Weather warnings are still in place across the UK, and flights may still be subject to delay or cancellation.

Passengers are advised to contact their airline before coming to the airport, and to allow plenty of time for their journey as road and rail networks may still be affected.

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