Air passengers travelling from Midland airports over the festive period have been told to check in as normal – despite many flights at other UK airports being grounded because of freezing fog.
But people travelling from Coventry Airport were being driven to Birmingham and East Midlands to board planes as the hub was closed for flights yesterday because of the adverse weather conditions.
A spokeswoman from Coventry Airport said passengers are still required to check in on time. Birmingham has been operating a "near normal" service, although three domestic flights were cancelled yesterday morning as the destination airports were closed to flights.
A spokeswoman at Birmingham said the airport was equipped with some of the most advanced navigation systems in the world meaning that compatible aircraft could land in some of the most extreme conditions.
She added some delays may occur on domestic flights because not all destinations and aircraft have such advanced navigation capabilities.
John Morris, BIA’s head of corporate affairs, said: "We are doing all that we can to get people on their way as quickly as possible. In general, we are operating as near to normal."
Travellers have been warned to check if their flight has been cancelled before travelling, to cut congestion at airports on what is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year. Across the country, Christmas travellers yesterday endured a second day of airport chaos with continuing thick, freezing fog leading to scores of flight cancellations.
And those taking to the roads had to contend with huge jams on major routes as those starting their festive journeys competed for space with Christmas shoppers.
For the second day running, Heathrow Airport was the worst hit, with around 350 flights cancelled as air traffic controllers limited services because of the bad weather. British Airways axed 200 flights yesterday and announced that it was cancelling all today’s domestic services in and out of Heathrow.
BA was able to operate long-haul services in and out of Heathrow, but some departing passengers faced delays of several hours on these flights.
Heathrow’s second-busiest airline, bmi (formerly British Midland) scrapped more than 40 flights at the west London airport. A total of 16 of BA’s cancellations yesterday were at Gatwick. Norwich and Southampton were also hit by the freezing fog, which the Met Office said was likely to persist over the coming days.
But some of the busiest airports, including Stansted and Manchester, were able to operate normally. At Heathrow yesterday, passengers waited in freezing conditions and spoke of their despair at having their Christmas travel plans wrecked.
Offered blankets and hot drinks by BA staff, they told of how they might not be able to spend the festive periods with their families.
One woman, who did not wish to be named, said she was struggling to get to Sweden to see her 87-year-old father who is dying of cancer.
Airport operator BAA said it was providing a range of amenities for stranded passengers, including heated marquees, blankets and ponchos, sleeping mats, children’s packs and food and drink.
BA laid on coaches for 3,000 people to travel from Heathrow to Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow. Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Geoff Want, BA’s director of ground operations, said: "We would like to apologise to all customers who have been disrupted as a result of the continuous dense fog, which is unprecedented in recent times."