Bloomberg News

Frankfurt Airport Cancels Quarter of Flights Amid German Snow

December 09, 2012

More than a quarter of the flights scheduled at Fraport AG’s Frankfurt airport were canceled today as snowfall caused travel disruption across Germany.

Of Frankfurt airport’s 1,210 scheduled flights, 377 were canceled as of 5:45 p.m., operations manager Waltraud Riehemann said by telephone. Deutsche Bahn AG, the German rail operator, said trains nationwide were also delayed as it limited their speed to prevent accidents, a spokeswoman said.

“It is mostly flights within Germany that are affected,” Riehemann said, adding that 172 of the cancellations at Europe’s third-biggest airport were arrivals and 205 departures. Flights to New York, Newark and Washington also were canceled.

Temperatures fell to as low as -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of Germany, according to the website of the Deutscher Wetterdienst, which predicted new snowfall of as much as 20 centimeters. The temperature in Frankfurt was a little over 1 degree celsius at 5 p.m.

Deutsche Bahn limited from noon the speed of its inter-city trains to 200 km/h (125 mph) as a precautionary safety measure, said a spokeswoman who declined to be named, citing company policy. The trains can usually travel up to 260 km/h, she said. Some trains were delayed by as much as half an hour, she said. She was unable to say how many services had been canceled.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA), which is Europe’s second-biggest airline and uses Frankfurt as its main hub, canceled at least 258 flights today in Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin and Dusseldorf to international destinations including San Francisco, Chicago and Seoul, according to the company’s website. A spokeswoman was unable to comment on the cancellations.

Fraport said last month it planned to deploy 700 employees in Frankfurt for snow clearance to ensure that at least one of its four runways is always operational. The airport has 31 tractors available to clear snow as well as storing 130 tons of grit and 3.6 million liters of deicing liquid.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Webb in Frankfurt at awebb25@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net


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