Airlines serving Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen were taking off mostly on schedule Friday morning, following widespread delays caused by a frosty fog that settled over the airport just as the holiday travel rush was setting in. Passengers were urged, though, to brace for crowds and more challenging weather throughout the weekend.
Norway’s gateway airport, OSL Lufthavn, was heading into its busiest weekend of the year when what state meteorologists called “a weather phenomenon” started causing problems on Thursday. The so-called frosttåke, literally a fog that freezes near the ground, forced air traffic controllers to allow more time before take-offs and landings. Long lines also formed at the airport’s de-icing stations for aircraft, which suddenly became extremely busy.
By Thursday night, only four out of 10 flights were on schedule and Norwegian Air alone had been forced to cancel nine departures because of the weather. “This weather phenomenon we’ve experienced means that things take more time,” airport spokesman Joachim Westher Andersen told news bureau NTB. Astrid Mannion of Norwegian Air agreed, noting that the weather “hit us hard.”
Meteorologists warned late Thursday that the fog, which they forecast would be followed by snow during the weekend, could settle in again on Friday, when more than 60,000 passengers were due to pass through OSL as the Christmas holidays got underway. By Friday morning, however, prospects had improved and early flights were taking off on time.
“We have a bit less humidity out there today than yesterday, and better visibility,” Andersen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “That means that in all probability we should avoid major problems, but it’s up to each individual airline to decide whether de-icing is necessary with regard to safety.”
Airport officials were still advising passengers to allow plenty of time to reach their scheduled flights and to follow departure information over OSL’s own website. (For flight information in English, click here, external link). Andersen cautioned there was no guarantee flights would continue to arrive and depart on time.
One bright spot on Thursday was a reported lack of major congestion through security control at the airport. NTB reported that traffic through control checkpoints at OSL moved well and was expected to continue to do so on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Passengers did face challenges getting to the airport, though, because of ongoing signal problems on train lines that affected the Airport Express Train (Flytoget). Direct departures from Oslo’s Central Station (Oslo S) to Gardermoen were cancelled Friday morning, reducing the total number of scheduled routes.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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