Passenger chaos after ‘heavy snow’ causes both Manchester Airport runways to close

Passenger chaos after 'heavy snow' causes both Manchester Airport runways to close

Image of manchester Airport runway being cleared. Credit: Twitter@fl360aero

Several flights at Manchester Airport were cancelled due to the ‘heavy snow’ covering both its runways.

Heavy snowfall in Northwest England resulted in both runways of Manchester Airport being closed earlier this morning, Saturday, December 10. Dozens of flights were either delayed or diverted, meaning more travel chaos for passengers.

The facility ground to a virtual standstill as the wintery conditions hit. A total of eight departures and four arrivals were cancelled as a result. According to Flight Radar24, at least another 17 flights were diverted. One of these was a British Airways jet from Singapore which ended up landing at London Heathrow.

‘Due to heavy snowfall, we have temporarily closed both runways. Health and safety will always be our top priority and operations will resume at the earliest opportunity, said a spokesperson for Manchester Airport.

‘Flights suspended at Manchester Airport so the runway can be cleared of snow and slush. Outbound flights are on hold and Inbound flights divert to Birmingham, East Midlands or London2, read a message on Inrix, the traffic alert service.

Passengers hoping to jet off for some Winter sun were left stranded by the cancellations. They were advised to contact their relevant airlines for any up-to-date flight information. The Manchester hub eventually reopened at around 11.30am.

Although no consolation, the weather should not have come as any surprise. A yellow warning had already been issued by the Met Office. ‘In a few areas, difficult travel conditions may occur quite quickly due to heavy sleet, snow or hail showers making surfaces slippery or even snow-covered’, it said.

Numerous images and videos were posted on social media showing the blanket of snow in Manchester. In many photos, the runways had disappeared under a layer of white. The fire brigade was brought in to assist with clearing the runways.

Speaking with, a passenger waiting to fly with easyJet from Belfast International Airport in Northern Ireland told them he had been delayed for three hours. ‘Got told if we want to leave we can, but won’t get a refund and that the returning flights from MCR won’t be flying so if it was a day trip (it was due to leave at 8:10am) then best not go’, said Don Kealey.

EasyJet staff at the airport informed him that his flight probably wouldn’t depart until at least midday at the earliest. ‘Like other airlines, easyJet is experiencing some disruption to its flying programme to and from Manchester as a result of the closure of the runway due to snow earlier today’, said the airline in a statement.

‘Although the airport has now reopened, it meant some flights were delayed departing and due to the knock-on effects of the closure, unfortunately, we have had to cancel 16 flights’, it continued.

The statement added: ‘We are doing everything possible to minimise the disruption for our customers including providing hotel rooms and meals for those passengers affected by the cancellations. Customers on cancelled flights have been provided with the option of transferring their flight free of charge or obtaining a refund’.

‘We would advise that all passengers due to fly with us to or from Manchester today to check the status of their flights on Flight Tracker at for real-time information. The safety of our passengers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority. Whilst this situation is outside of our control we would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused as a result of the weather’, it concluded.

Twitter user @stunic had this to say in a tweet: “Can’t see how Manchester airport is going to start operations any time soon. Not even any gritters been out or snow ploughs. Been stuck on the plane 3 hours so far”.

Meanwhile, a different point of view came from @paulpanyan, who posted: “Come on Manchester Airport you’re clearly mugging us off now. It’s not snowed for the past hour, it’s melting and there’s less than 1cm. We’ve been sat on this flight since 7:20am now and literally nothing is happening @manairport @easyJet”.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at