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Thousands of Swedes trapped in flight chaos

Thousands of Swedes trapped in flight chaos

Published: 21 Dec 2010 17:54 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Dec 2010 17:54 GMT+01:00

Thousands of Swedes heading home by plane are currently stuck at airports across Europe, with London and Heathrow causing the greatest headaches for travellers.

Separately, Swedish weather agency SMHI's latest forecast shows that snow will likely cause problems for travellers across the country during the Christmas holidays.

Scandinavian airline SAS' biggest problems involve flights in London and at Heathrow.

"It is the absolute worst there. From Frankfurt and Paris, things are running smoothly and we are getting passengers out. In London, we currently have about 5,000 to 6,000 SAS customers, but not all of them are going to Sweden. About 2,000 are going to Landvetter or Arlanda, said SAS information director Elisabeth Manzi.

"The remainder are heading to destinations in Denmark and Norway. The problems in London stem from Heathrow being closed for a longer time than the other large airports on the continent," she added.

The cancelled flights have forced a number of affected travellers to scrap their Christmas plans, while others are racing to salvage the holidays by coming up with alternative ways home, including taking buses to Copenhagen at their own expense.

Travellers have complained that SAS has offered them no help at all, saying that they have been told that they are responsible for their own arrangements.

SMHI changed after lunch on Tuesday its weather forecast for Thursday and Christmas Eve, saying that snowfall over southern Sweden is expected to extend further east out over the Baltic Sea.

"It is now set to really pick up on Saturday and snow over southern and eastern Götaland, as well as eastern Svealand. The largest volume will fall over Gotland and along the Baltic Sea provinces," said Anna Hagenblad, meteorologist at SMHI.

"The snowfall on land could be less. Most of the snow will fall over the Baltic Sea," she continued, adding that the forecasts are still very "disconnected."

Even if there is less snow than expected over southern Sweden on Thursday and Friday, there is still a risk of regular traffic problems.

"There will possibly be a warning on Friday (Christmas Eve) and it depends on the combination of snow and wind," said Hagenblad.

In connection with the snowfall, temperatures are expected to rise to -5 to -1 degrees Celsius in the southern parts of the country and -10 to -5 degrees Celsius in the northern parts of Götaland and Svealand.

SMHI has issued class 1 warnings on a rising scale of one to three for Blekinge and parts of northeastern Sweden, where up to 10 centimetres of fresh snow are expected to fall on Tuesday.

National rail operator SJ estimates 1 million passengers will travel by train during the Christmas holidays and has already admitted to not having enough resources to cope, especially if the weather causes problems.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:11 December 21, 2010 by byke
Any travellers looking to get back, if you cant find a solution ...

Take the boat from Tilbury (east of london) to GBG.

Trains across Europe are suffering huge delays and issues. The German train operator "DB" is advising not to travel.

So get the boat as its direct :

Tilbury (East London) / GBG :

http://freight.dfdsseaways.com/dfds_ferrie...ilbury_ferries/

Immingham (Northern UK) / GBG :

http://freight.dfdsseaways.com/dfds_ferrie...ingham_ferries/

Ghent (Belgium) / GBG :

http://freight.dfdsseaways.com/dfds_ferrie..._ghent_ferries/

Anyone hoping to get home before xmas can also look for other boat routes via the link provided. As you can also go from immingham (Northern England) and Ghent (Belgium). But make sure if your interested that you look at the link asap as the boat times are very few before christmas.
18:32 December 21, 2010 by EtoileBrilliant
Love it when The Local's journalists use Google translate for large blocks of text. The articles read like a badly translates user manual.
22:31 December 21, 2010 by sgt_doom
Excellent! May they have all the time in the world to catch up on all the propaganda coming out of Sweden and the USA regarding the USA client state they call home (Sweden).

Over due for a full-scale investigation into the Swedish Prosecution Authority and one Beatrice Ask at Justice.
22:47 December 21, 2010 by MarkinBoston
Yes sgt_doom, those right wing Swedes have always been CIA stooges.

When a leftist hero rapes women, feminism becomes disposable.
23:02 December 21, 2010 by Rolle
Frankfurt is running smoothly? Bullcrap! My sister and her kids were left stranded in Arlanda today because of bad weather in Germany. So now we're gonna spend holydays some 8 thousand miles apart... Yeah, real 'smooth'.

And the issue with Heathrow isn't new. Last year gave us a glimpse of how unprepared are the british to cope with anything but rainy or sunny weather. A couple inches of snow and the whole island is left standing still for a week. Pathetic.
23:51 December 21, 2010 by Localer
don't understand, heard Stansted airport run smoothly but why not Heathrow ?
00:14 December 22, 2010 by byke
@ Localer

Its all about the physical size of airports, the amount of people passing through and finally the actual weather in that place.

Heathrow has had issues simply because :

1. They had a huge amount of snow

2. they had too many planes stuck there unable to take off so there were no space for planes to land

3. Due to the amount of passengers passing through it ... when a backlog appears it grows very quickly .... multiply this my 3 days and you are looking at a potential of half a million people stuck in one place with resources absolutely stretched.

4. Destination .... if you cant land at your destination, then you cant take off either.

Airports are there to make cash, and any large airport will do whatever it takes to get planes in and out .... there is no profit, only losses when incidents like this happen.
00:14 December 22, 2010 by iKenndac
^ Stanstead is a) much, much smaller than Heathrow and b) nearly 70km northeast of Heathrow, and may be having different weather conditions.
01:10 December 22, 2010 by Beavis
So the SAS lot are back from their holiday... They were nowhere to be found and not contactable during the busiest weekend of the year! Typical poor service. Theres not much they can do about snow, but they need to be there to arrange later flights etc, every other airline in Arlanda was there to try and help their passengers as best they could.

Im surprised Standsted is still operational though, they only have one de-icer machine.. Heathrow is a huge mess normally so no surpise that snow shuts it down fully, but anyone flying via the UK in December/Januaury knows they do not have enough equipment to cope.. its happened the last 3 years
02:09 December 22, 2010 by sgt_doom
To #4, MarkinBoston,

How typical. Your kind always believe those who strive in support of freedom and liberty are GUILTY until proven innocent.

Only you never allow them to go to court. Go to all the Stockholm airports, public and private, and I'll bet there's an aircraft at one of them registered to Jeppesen Dataplan (Boeing's Extreme Rendition Airlines -- and we know what passenger they await).
07:55 December 22, 2010 by wabasha
sgt doom is a tool. take your crazy talk somewhere else.
09:26 December 22, 2010 by krattan
@MarkinBoston

"those right wing Swedes have always been CIA stooges. "

There rather seems to be most influence from USA among the Social Democrats. One of the women accusing Assange is a Social Democrat. Their lawyer Claes Bodström works with former Social Democratic justice minister Bodström. Social Democratic party leader Mona Sahlin according to the wikileaks cables even asked USA for help in the autumn election she lost.

After all, the Social Democrats has been the ruling party for most of the 1900s in Sweden. So it only stands to reason that the US would have spent the most resources on them. Suppose the Social Democrats are the ones with most to lose in Sweden if more dirt from the wikileaks cables surfaces.
18:36 December 22, 2010 by jjoensuu
And appropos US influence in the Assange case:

Rove's hand seen in Julian Assange prosecution, sources allege

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/rove-co...julian-assange/

Above article brings up some claims that Karl Rove (who was an advisor to G. Bush the younger) has also been advising the Swedish Prime Minister and has something to do with the Assange case.

By the way how common is it that someone is wanted on Interpol because of this type of rape accusations? Or did they do that in the Assange case because he is known to travel a lot?

Also one of the accusers supposedly came out with that that thing had been her worst sex experience. It is kind of interesting she would say that, because it *hints* at the situation actually having been consentual.
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