Istanbul airport closes as snowstorms disrupt travel in Turkey and Greece

·2 min read

Istanbul’s Havalimanı Resmi airport was forced to suspend all flights yesterday afternoon and this morning as a rare snowstorm caused disruption across the eastern Mediterranean.

As Europe’s busiest airport, the hub serves routes from and to North America, Europe and Asia, meaning thousands of passengers were affected.

“Dear passengers, due to adverse weather conditions all flights at Istanbul airport have been temporarily stopped for flight safety,” read a statement posted to the airport’s Twitter account shortly before 3pm local time.

Follow-up tweets showed snowplows operating on the snow-covered runways and airfield, with staff adding, “Our teams are carrying out cleaning works on the apron, runway and taxiway to resume flight operations.

“Despite adverse weather conditions and heavy snowfall our work continues at full speed.”

National flag carrier Turkish Airways also halted all of its flights until Tuesday morning.

Flights from IGA resumed shortly before 2pm today, after nearly 24 hours of flight cancellations.

“Our flights, which were temporarily suspended due to flight safety, have been resumed with Caracas (Venezuela) and will continue with Houston (US). We would like to thank all our passengers for their patience and understanding,” read an airport statement on Twitter.

The roof of one of the airport’s cargo terminals even collapsed under the weight of heavy snow, reported the Daily Sabah, though no one was harmed.

One passenger’s Twitter video showed airport vehicles working to clear the snow around planes waiting to take off.

“While waiting for flight TK2138 this morning, I admired you and prepared this short clip while waiting on the plane. You are amazing, working hard in difficult conditions @igairport, always giving confidence @TurkishAirlines, thank you!” wrote the traveller.

Snowstorms have raged across Turkey, Greece and Syria since Monday, causing havoc in neighbouring Greece, halting traffic in Athens and Istanbul, and putting most public transport out of action.

Flurries are forecast to continue until Wednesday, with Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu saying more heavy snowfall was likely on Tuesday evening.

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