Madrid airport back to normal

12th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

A rare heavy snowfall led to a five-hour shutdown of Barajas airport on Friday.

MADRID – Air traffic was returning to normal Saturday at Madrid's Barajas airport, Europe's fourth busiest, the day after it was shut down for five hours due to a rare, heavy snowfall, airport officials said.

"The situation is returning to normal, there are two runways out of four that are open," a spokeswoman for Aena, the Spanish national airport authority, told AFP, adding that of course there were some delays in flights.

"There were temperatures of minus six degrees Celsius overnight and the planes must go through de-icing," she explained.

Air traffic resumed operations on Sunday as all four runways were opened, according to an updated report by Reuters.

The delays however still left hundreds of travellers, many of who spent the night at the airport, waiting for flights out of the Spanish capital, an AFP photographer reported.

Some 55,000 travellers suffered flight delays or cancellations between Friday and Saturday, El Pais said.

On Friday hundreds of flights were delayed and 52 were diverted during the period the airport was closed as the unfamiliar sight of snowfall paralysed air traffic and caused nearly 400 kilometres of traffic jams and dozens of accidents on the roads around Madrid.

[AFP / Expatica]

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