Clariant to halt de-icer production, warns of traffic impact

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Swiss chemicals group Clariant warned Thursday of European air traffic disruptions as it is forced to halt production of vital de-icers during a harsh winter season owing to a shortage of raw materials.

"Due to the adverse weather conditions, the extremely high demand for de-icers for aircrafts has led to a shortage in raw material," said the chemicals group.

"The Swiss special chemicals company Clariant is therefore expecting a halt in production from 1 to 4 January," it added.

"Depending on weather conditions and stock levels of the airports, this could have adverse consequences for European flight traffic," it added.

Clariant has been producing de-icers for about 100 European airports since October 2010.

Amid this season's bitterly cold and snowy winter, the production of the chemicals used to de-ice aircraft has shot up 50 percent by December compared to a year ago, said the group.

Officials at Aeroports de Paris had asked airlines to cut their flights by 50 percent on Christmas eve as it was having trouble getting hold of enough de-icers.

Flights from Brussels were also grounded for three days last week due to a shortage of de-icers.

© 2010 AFP

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