Heathrow Airport Experiences Significant Flight Disruptions Due to Freezing Fog Cancellations

UK airports are experiencing delays due to freezing fog this week. The dense fog is causing visibility issues and making it difficult for planes to take off and land safely.

According to airport officials, the fog’s visibility issues have caused the cancellation of over 80 flights so far. The cancellations have affected flights to destinations both within the UK and internationally. As a result, several flights have been canceled or delayed, causing inconvenience for more than 1,400 passengers.

Airline services were affected on Sunday night (January 22), when operators had to cancel or reduce the number of flights by around 15% due to severe weather and ATC constraints. Airline affected include KLM, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, SAS, and Air France.

The British Airways spokesperson stated, “Like other airlines, our regular schedule has been impacted by the ongoing cold fog weather conditions observed across London.” The departure boards at the airport were displayed in “canceled” notices, including those for planes to Berlin, Amsterdam, and Miami. 

Apart from this, many other cancellations include BA flights to Lyon, Stuttgart, Toulouse, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, and Milan. At the same time, some 33 arrivals were canceled, including Manchester, Edinburgh, New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Hamburg, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, and Stockholm.

“We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause to passengers,” said a spokesperson for Heathrow Airport. “Safety is our top priority and we are doing everything we can to minimize disruptions.”

The decision was taken to cancel flights seeing the drop in the temperature. Temperatures dropped significantly overnight to -8.4C, estimated to be the coldest at the airport in ten years.

Even when the sun began to break through the clouds this morning, the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for parts of southern and eastern England. The alert was in force until Monday at 11 a.m. It was predicted that the temperature might drop as low as -6C on Monday night.

The freezing fog is expected to persist for the rest of the week, and authorities are urging travelers to stay informed and plan accordingly.

The Met Office said that areas of overnight freezing fog are gradually dispersing but may still be present in certain dangerous regions [in the southeast]. It also predicted that temperatures would not reach beyond 5C on Monday.

Craig Snell, a meteorologist at the Met Office, predicted that the cold spell would end by next week and bring milder weather to the U.K. The situation is under control, and the Airport Authority is doing their best to clear the fog and ensure the smooth running of the airport.

The Met Office has issued a weather warning for fog, advising people to take extra care while driving and walking in affected areas. The public is advised to stay updated on the latest weather forecast and information on the airport or for detailed data you can check the weather forecast here.

After the extreme cold, “next week is looking quite moderate,” he added. The possibility of fog is beginning to decrease, and temperatures are expected to return to normal. The extremely harsh frosts are likely to go. We have passed the worst in terms of ice and snow.

According to the statement, clients impacted by the cancellations can choose to book an alternative flight or receive a refund.

Simon King, the head meteorologist for the BBC, defined freezing fog as “the circumstance where the visibility is less than one kilometer associated with an air temperature of less than 0C.”

“Supercooled water droplets are water droplets that remain water and not ice in the fog despite the air being frozen.” However, he further explained that these water droplets freeze when they come into contact with frozen surfaces, producing dangerous situations.

It was predicted that skies will be clear on Monday, reducing the impact of snow. As the days pass, the fog will disappear, but it will last in certain areas.