Heavy snow delays airline traffic

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The surprise spring snowstorm that snarled vehicular traffic around eastern and southern Norway on Monday was also causing serious delays in airline traffic at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen. Buses serving the airport were also running way behind schedule.

Airport officials said OSL Gardermoen was operating at half-capacity because of the sudden need to clear snow off the runways. Flights headed for Oslo were also ordered to remain where they were, because they couldn’t land at Gardermoen.

All available crews were trying to clear the snow which was unexpected and built up quickly. “It means we have to close the runways for short periods to clear them, and then the aircraft have to stand where they are until the runways open again,” Gurli Høeg Ulverud, communications chief for state airports agency Avinor, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

Passengers thus faced a long list of delayed flights and cancellations on an otherwise busy Monday morning. Those due to travel were told to keep in touch with their airlines and OSL’s website.

Airport crews, like state highway agency Statens vegvesen, had pared down their preparedness for winter weather this late in the year. “We cut back from April 15 and only have about half-capacity available,” Trond Holtvedt of Statens vegvesen. “More snow has fallen that we wanted, but we’re making the major highways our biggest priority and hope the snow turns to rain later in the day.” Traffic chaos reigned around Oslo in the morning, especially in Drammen, Romerike and Ringerike.

The snow in downtown Oslo Monday morning had turned to mostly rain by 2pm but the Frogner Park was still covered with snow at midday. As much as 10 centermeters or more fell at higher elevations.

newsinenglish.no staff