Published On: Thu, Jan 19th, 2023

Manchester airport flights runways closed snow weather uk weather forecast | Weather | News

Fury has erupted as Manchester Airport bosses have temporarily shut both its runways due to snowfall. In a statement released this morning, it said: Health and safety will always be our top priority and operations will resume at the earliest opportunity.” It urges passengers to check with their airline for the most up-to-date information. Much of the UK has been blanketed under snow, or a sharp frost, as the first cold snap of 2023 takes hold. 

Pictures show grounded aircrafts iced over, with clusters of snow hanging off the exteriors. The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for snow and ice across the UK, with isolated parts of Scotland having had amber alerts to contend with. 

The forecaster had warned northern areas would be worst off when it came to plunging temperatures and snowfall. Interactive maps show much of the north and Midlands has this morning woken up to a fresh layer. 

While officials say the closure of both runways is in the interests of safety, passengers on Twitter have blasted the move and insisted the country has had nothing but a “light dusting of snow.”

One Twitter user said: “”Heavy Snow”? It’s legit barely a flurry, could move it with a shovel in 15 minutes, but instead you delay every flight, even boarding us onto the flight only to delay it even further.”

The airport, home to three terminals, is dubbed the third busiest in Britain, serving passengers who are not in proximity to the likes of Gatwick, Heathrow or Stansted – all on the outskirts of London. 

Big brands such as TUI, Ryanair, easyJet, and AER Lingus all operate there – with more than 23 million passengers flying from it in 2022. While the airport’s website still indicates it is open, it directs people to check its social media pages for the most up-to-date information. 

While many people are claiming the snow isn’t at all bad – the airport has recently just announced that it has began re-clearing its runway due to a “fresh snow deposit” – indicating wintry showers are not yet easing. 

It said: “Our runways remain closed as we continue to clear the airfield.” 

READ MORE: Britain set to be blanketed with 10 inches of snow amid Arctic freeze

Weather maps show up to 4cm could be laying today over northern parts of Britain and Wales. But despite the threat of more on its way, passengers are not happy at the decision, with a series of furious tweets flooding in.

One user added: “Anyone else seen any ‘heavy snow’? Was worried I’d be snowed in when I saw this on the news, looks like a very light dusting.”  Another said: “What snow. I’ve just driven round the M60 to work. Anything to inconvenience customers.”

While many are questioning the decision to shut both runways – the Met Office has detailed why weather of this kind causes major disruption. One of the things it points out is the conditions also affects airport staffing levels – with ice and snow seeing many people unable to make it into work.

It says: “Fog, snow, ice and crosswinds mean that air traffic controllers have to increase the gap between planes that are landing, reducing the number of aircraft that an airport can manage. The same weather can make it slower and more difficult for the planes to taxi between runway and terminal building. 

“Safety is always the first consideration for the aviation industry. An aircraft that’s stood overnight in freezing weather will need de-icing before its first flight in the morning. That’s a fairly big task for one plane but imagine the task at Heathrow on a snowy January morning.

“At the same time there are miles of taxiways and runways to clear. Then think about the people who do this work getting to the airport – the same snow and ice are probably affecting the roads and railways.”

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