12 flights from Dubai to land at Heathrow today

Etihad also resumes London service; However, flights may still be delayed as schedules are in chaos with airports across Europe still shutdown

Even as Heathrow airport in London began to open in sections, snow still inundated the UK and Europe.

As per the latest flight information, two flights from Dubai that have so far landed at Heathrow were delayed by 35 minutes, while a Royal Brunei Airlines flight scheduled to land at 8:10am (GMT) – was late by almost an hour and a half. Two other flights by Emirates and Continental are expected to land at 11.56am (GMT) - 21 minutes late.

The Emirates flight EK003 which is scheduled to leave at 2.30pm is delayed by 45 minutes.

As per information available at LHR a total of 12 flights from Dubai are expected to land at the airport today, with four of being cancelled.

As for departures from Heathrow, two morning flights were about 25 minutes late while the status of 16 others flights departing to Dubai are on schedule.

Flight EY11 departed from Abu Dhabi at 9.25am (delayed from 2.40am) and EY19 departed on schedule at 8.40am. Etihad plans to operate EY17 on schedule which will depart at 1.30pm. All times are local UAE.

An additional flight to Manchester will operate at 2pm from Abu Dhabi with passengers taken by coach to London. The EY17 Abu Dhabi to London flight that was diverted to Frankfurt on Saturday will operate to Manchester, due to capacity restraints in London, and passengers will be taken by coach to London.

James Hogan, Etihad's CEO, said: "We are very pleased to be able to resume flights to London this morning and thank our customers for their patience and understanding during this challenging period.

"Etihad's operations teams have worked tirelessly since the disruption began and can now implement their plans to ensure our passengers get to their homes and holidays in time for Christmas."

Etihad operates three flights to London per day. The airline encourages customers to check its website for the latest flight information.

Earlier, travel chaos to London continued this morning, despite the opening of Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow, the last scheduled to open by 6am local time (9am UAE).

While most airlines cancelled all their flights to London during the last 12 hours, morning flights today were once again placed on schedule.

The 2.50am Dubai to London Gatwick Emirates flight EK011 took off at 3.12am and is scheduled to land at 7am local time. The EK007 that was scheduled at 3.10am from Dubai to Heathrow was delayed by almost 45 minutes and is expected to land at 7.45am. All other Emirates flights for the day to London are marked as scheduled.

In its advice to travelers, Emirates said, “London Heathrow airport is due to reopen on Monday, 20th December, and Emirates' flights to Heathrow will resume. All other airports in the UK, including London Gatwick, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Glasgow remain open and Emirates flights to and from them, as well as Emirates' other European destinations are operating as close to schedule as possible, but are dependent on the constantly changing weather conditions.”

Customers due to travel to or from Europe have been advised to check the status of their flight for possible changes or delays, before departing for the airport.

“Flight information will be updated on the website every five minutes. Emirates apologises for any inconvenience caused,” it added.

Etihad on the other hand cancelled its 2am flight EY19 to London Heathrow and another flight EY11 that was originally scheduled to depart at 2.40am has been delayed by more than five hours and is now scheduled for 8.30am. Two other flights for the day are marked on time. Virgin Atlantic cancelled the 10am flight to London from Dubai.

A statement by the Heathrow Airport late last night said the airport will be open and operating a limited schedule of arrivals and departures from 06:00am on Monday morning.
“But we expect further cancellations and delays in the coming days, as airlines move diverted aircraft and crew back to their normal positions and we continue to manage the impacts of the poor weather over the weekend and in the days ahead.”

The British Airways flight information service was not accessible in the UAE for most part of the morning. However a note on its website said. “We have confirmed our plans for flights operating until midday on Monday 20 December. Please do not go to the airport unless you have a confirmed booking on a flight that is operating. Call volumes are likely to remain high so please try to use our online options if possible. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

Emirates 'surprised'

Emirates airline said it was "surprised to be told by the British Airport Authorities (BAA) well after two of our flights on, with 900-plus passengers aboard, left Dubai that they were not going to be allowed to land as the airport will be closed for the remainder of the day."

Tim Clark, President of Emirates airline, in an emailed statement said: "this is despite the fact that we operated these flights in compliance with the BAA requirements that the airport would accept flight arrivals after 11am local time."

According to Clark, "this has caused enormous inconvenience to the passengers affected, in addition to those who have already been stranded in the UK and Europe."

"Furthermore, Emirates has had to cancel three additional Heathrow flights today [Sunday] which were fully booked as people make their way home which has had the same impact on the return flights. Emirates ability to mount the extra sections required to recover the enormous back-log is very limited. Emirates will be discussing this issue with the BAA," Emirates airline added in the statement.

It may well be a Blue Christmas for expatriates from Europe and the UK who were planning to head home for the festive season.

Thousands of expats are booked to fly home for Christmas, but face an anxious few days to see if as severe weather across Europe and the UK affects flight schedules.

 Snow stymies Christmas plans in Europe

Heavy snow disrupted the Christmas holiday getaway in Europe, forcing the continent's biggest airports to close and thousands of stranded passengers to spend the night on terminal floors, reports AFP.

In London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Brussels, flights were cancelled and airports warned of backlogs spilling well into this week, with snow and ice frustrating travel plans across Europe on the last weekend before December 25.

Hundreds of passengers had to sleep in terminals after becoming trapped in no man's land when their flights were diverted from affected airports and they were without a visa to leave transit lounges.

Heavy snow and thick ice all but closed London Heathrow, the busiest international passenger air hub in the world, over the weekend and travellers faced a third day stranded Monday as arctic conditions sparked fresh flight delays and cancellations.

Britain's roads and railways were also hit by the harsh winter weather, with some roads made impassable after drivers abandoned their vehicles in heavy snow and passengers being ejected onto freezing platforms from broken-down trains.

With forecasters predicting this month could be the coldest December for a century, Britain braced for further problems Monday with up to 20 centimetres (eight inches) of snow expected in some places.

At Heathrow, disappointment turned to anger and frustration for Christmas travellers as their wait dragged on. Some said they were running out of money, while others reported lengthy queues for toilets and plug sockets for mobile phones.

Trevor Taylor, who had been waiting with his wife and two young sons for a flight for Singapore for two days, described conditions at Terminal 5 as "absolute mayhem".

"Frustration is building up. I've been sleeping on a knobbly marble floor and every space you can see is taken," the 37-year-old said.

There were a handful of arrivals and departures from Heathrow on Sunday, and the airport warned that disruption was set to continue.

A statement from Heathrow, which is operated by BAA, said the airport would provide a limited service from 0600 GMT Monday, but warned of knock-on effects from the weekend shutdown.

"We expect further cancellations and delays in the coming days, as airlines move diverted aircraft and crew back to their normal positions," it said.

Hundreds of passengers also slept at London's Gatwick airport on Saturday, although the situation there was improving on Sunday.

Other major airports, including London Stansted, London Luton, Birmingham, Glasgow and Bristol also faced delays and cancellations due to the weather.

Car breakdown service AA predicted it would answer about 14,000 call-outs on Sunday, double the average. Part of a major train route between London and Edinburgh was suspended, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.

Two of the four runways at Paris's Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport, continental Europe's biggest air hub, remained closed, with dozens of flights scrapped.

Airport authorities said around 3,000 people would spend the night in the terminal buildings. Some 40 percent of Roissy flights from 1500 GMT were cancelled, affecting some 13,000 waiting passengers.

But the situation was expected progressively to return to normal Monday, with Secretary of State for Transport Thierry Mariani stating: "Tomorrow's weather forecasts are better so hopefully we'll get there."

Mariani lashed out at British Airways which he said had turned down an offer of places on Eurostar for its customers blocked in Paris after the closure of Heathrow.

The poor conditions forced Eurostar to cancel six of its trains between Britain, France and Belgium, the company announced, as other rail services warned of delays.

Frankfurt airport, Germany's busiest, cancelled more than 540 flights Sunday due to heavy snow, with further flurries and cancellations expected.

In the Netherlands several hundred people spent Saturday night at Amsterdam-Schiphol airport, where air traffic continued to be severely disrupted on Sunday.

In Belgium around 1,500 people were to spend a second night at Brussels airport, after up to 3,000 passengers slept there Saturday. Most of them were on 18 rerouted flights bound for Heathrow.

Sunday was Belgium's 18th day of snowfall since the start of November, beating the previous record set in 1945.

One person died in the hardest-hit southern Wallonia region when the roof of a barn collapsed under the weight of snow.

In northern Italy the situation was improving after two days of chaos on the roads and in airports in Tuscany.

In the Balkans, four people froze to death over the weekend. Two men, aged 72 and 50, were found near Banja Luka in Bosnia, while an elderly couple were found dead by their neighbours in Serbia.

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