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Icy runways pose problems for airports

UK airports continued to face the threat of closures and suspended flights this week as staff struggled to free runways of ice.

Flights were suspended from Inverness airport for two days last week after workers were unable to clear the runway of ice.

Last month a Ryanair plane slid on ice and ran off the runway at Glasgow’s Prestwick Airport as it landed from Dublin.

Other airports including Manchester, Liverpool John Lennon, Leeds-Bradford, Aberdeen and Newcastle have all been forced to cancel services.

Airlines were pragmatic about the disruption and said that a balance between fees and maintenance had to be maintained.

“The airports generally provide a level of snow/ice clearing and de-icing equipment and manning resources based on Met Office records or requirement. Clearly colder climate airports have a greater requirement,” said a spokesman for the International Air Transport Association.

“Provision of excessive equipment that might lie about idle for the majority of the year may not be considered cost-eff ective by the airlines who finance it through their year-round charges. A tradeoff has to be considered.”

Airlines may be able to pursue airports for compensation if they feel that operators have made inadequate plans for bad weather.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Quite right, I lived in a cold climate and never had a problem with airports but I'm sure the cost of the infrastructure is prohibitive for what normally causes a couple of days disruption. We focus this year because it is a significant number of days, then next few years berate the airports for having equipment they never use, then when it happens again the equipment doesn't work.

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