| 15.9°C Belfast

Flights cancelled ahead of ‘mini beast’

Most of the cancellations were on short-haul routes.


More than 70 flights to or from Heathrow on Saturday have been cancelled (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

More than 70 flights to or from Heathrow on Saturday have been cancelled (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

More than 70 flights to or from Heathrow on Saturday have been cancelled (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

More than 70 flights to or from Heathrow Airport on Saturday were cancelled ahead of the expected blast of snow and ice hitting the UK.

Most of the cancellations were on short-haul routes, although British Airways services to New York and Chicago were among those affected.

A spokesman for the carrier said: “Poor weather conditions are forecast across parts of the UK across the weekend, so we have merged a small number of flights travelling to or from Heathrow Airport.

“During cold weather conditions aircraft have to be de-iced prior to departure to ensure that they are safe and additional measures are taken to ensure the safety of our operation is maintained at all times.”

BA passengers due to fly to or from Heathrow, Gatwick or London City this weekend are able to re-book on any flight up to Wednesday free of charge.

Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, TAP Air Portugal and KLM were among the other airlines with Heathrow flights cancelled.

A spokeswoman for the airport said: “While this weekend’s weather may result in minor delays and some airlines consolidating flights, significant disruption at Heathrow is not currently expected.

“We are working closely with our on-site Met Office to monitor the further snowfall expected throughout the weekend.

“As always, we advise passengers to check their flight status with their airline before coming to the airport.”

Drivers are being urged to be prepared before setting out on journeys this weekend.

Highways England, which manages motorways and major A-roads in England, advised motorists to avoid trans-Pennine roads “if possible”.

These include the M62 (junctions 21 to 25), A628 and A66.

It also called on drivers to stay off the M1 between junctions 35 (Rotherham) and 47 (Garforth), the M606 near Bradford and the M621 near Leeds.

Many motorists were stranded on roads when freezing conditions hit much of the country earlier this month.

Highways England’s head of road safety, Richard Leonard, said: “Our gritter drivers will be out treating our roads around the clock but it is still important to drive to the conditions when snow is forecast.

“Make sure you keep your distance and reduce your speed if you need to travel because, even in conditions that seem normal and when the snow is not settling, it can be slippery if ice patches have formed or where fresh salt has not been worked into the carriageway.

“Drivers should plan their journeys, monitor weather reports and pack a snow kit of blankets, food, water and a shovel if they really need to travel.”

Network Rail, which is responsible for Britain’s rail tracks, is running empty trains to help keep the network clear of snow.

It is also carrying out checks on heating systems designed to avoid sections of track from freezing.

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