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A P: Airports after Snow and Ice

December 13, 2010 by staff 

A P, (AP) – Travelers to Paris and stayed at Frankfurt airport after snow and ice caused travel chaos. Pop singer Shakira canceled a concert in Germany, while French Prime Minister missed a gala at the Bolshoi in Moscow.

Many European commuters have suffered in a traffic jam in the slushy streets Thursday and Scotland even called in the army to clear the snow. Flights from Paris and Frankfurt were still delayed after bad weather forced the temporary closure of airports a day earlier.

Paris, a city of frequent rain, is not ready for snow. In the midst of Wednesday’s snowfall of 10 centimeters (4 inches), bus service was closed, traffic maintained, tourists were taken to the Eiffel Tower and Paris Charles de Gaulle was forced to close for an hour and half.

Shakira has canceled a concert Wednesday night in Frankfurt, because she could not take off from Paris, German news agency reported DAPD.

Concert organizers did not hear about this problem until one hour before the concert, when they had to say 11,000 fans have gathered in the concert hall at the head of the house. A spokeswoman for concert organizers DAPD said a new date for the beginning of 2011 will be soon.

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon missed a special gala by Russian and French dancers at the Bolshoi delays due to leave France. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – no stranger to snow – offered to revive the Bolshoi event in honor of Mr. Fillon, the news agency RIA Novosti said.

On Thursday, delays of up to one hour persisted at Charles de Gaulle. Some passengers huddled under blankets after sleeping overnight at the airport.

“The airport last night was to provide towels, mattresses for sleeping, water, and they came around constantly to see if everything was OK,” said Lynne Seavor, whose flight home to the airport in the UK East Midlands was delayed 24 hours.

The sun was in Paris on Thursday, melt snow on roofs. The sidewalks were slick, and traffic was still severely disrupted.

The first floor of the Eiffel Tower reopened to tourists, a day after being fully closed. Officials say they can not use salt here because it could damage the monument.

A combination of snow, rain and temperatures hovering right around freezing caused traffic chaos in Germany, with hundreds of accidents reported nationwide, and tens of miles long traffic jams ( kilometers long). One person died in an accident in Rhineland-Palatinate, along the French border.

Airport officials said at least 650 flights were canceled in Germany, including 200 to 450 to Frankfurt and Berlin, whose airport was closed for four hours at night.

Air traffic control agency Eurocontrol said the Berlin Schoenefeld airport will be closed to incoming flights until 8 am (0700GMT) on Friday due to a lack of deicing fluid.

Clariant, a Swiss specialty chemicals is one of the leaders of high European level of the liquid, said the unexpectedly rapid onset of winter conditions have caused shortages across the continent.

“Winter is the beginning and at the same time across Europe. We even received requests for defrosting of Greece today,” spokesman Ulrich Nies Clariant said.

He said that the company European production plant for the fluid in southern Germany is running around the clock – instead of the hours during ordinary days – to fight against shortages.

Ralf Kunkel, a spokesman for the airport in Berlin, said that the lack of deicing fluid was “unique” in the history of the city’s airports, and it is absolutely boring. ”

Scotland, meanwhile, called in the army on Thursday to help the snow and ice after heavy snowfall since 1963 crippled the country’s capital.

Edinburgh City Council has held discussions with the Ministry of Defence and the Scottish government to help secure the capital after digging up to 30 inches (75 centimeters) of snow in parts of the city left some of its residents the most vulnerable unable to leave their homes.

Soldiers are using the residents in areas hardest hit Edinburgh and clear sensitive places such as hospitals and doctors’ offices.

The army will also remove snow and ice from roads. Some parts of the country have not seen a temperature reading positive for nearly two weeks.

David Rising in Berlin and Juergen Baetz and Angela Doland in Paris contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2010 the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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