At least 45 flights were prevented from taking off or landing at Bergen’s Flesland airport Wednesday morning, after less than six centimeters of snow fell during the night and crews didn’t manage to clear the runway. The poor response to common winter weather prompted state airport authority Avinor, which owns Flesland, to issue an apology.
“We didn’t deliver what we should,” admitted airport operations chief Øystein Skaar to state broadcaster NRK. He said airport officials regretted that the airport was closed for around three hours, from 5:30-8:30am.
He blamed a variety of “unfortunate circumstances” for what he called an “incredibly challenging situation” at the airport. Weather forecasts for Wednesday had been uncertain, with rain and sleet predicted “and then we got snow. We had winter preparedness crews on duty until 4am, but they had to be sent home because of work rules. They we had a period with fewer people, before new crews could be called in,” Skaar told NRK.
When “lots of snow” started falling around 5am, there weren’t enough crews on duty to remove it. The result was the cancellation of at least 45 departures and arrivals, and that led to more trouble for other airports around Norway when incoming flights didn’t arrive and there was no turnaround for other flights. Passengers were quick to express frustration and anger on social media, and delays were expected throughout the day.