Flights and commuters hit by snow

Julian Harris
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SNOW storms and intense frost risk causing commuter chaos today, train operators and airports warned last night.

Holidays have also been ruined at the busiest time of year, after Heathrow abandoned all of yesterday’s flights.

Flight delays are expected throughout the week, as problems build up. Around half a million passengers are thought to have been affected already, provoking Mayor Boris Johnson to demand answers from BAA, which runs Heathrow.

Last night Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate confirmed that £8m will be spent on doubling the airport’s fleet of snow clearing vehicles and equipment. Gatwick managed to keep some flights running throughout the weekend, he said.

Commuters face further delays to their journeys today, with train companies admitting that they will have to wait to see how conditions pan out before confirming how services will run in the evening.

Another band of snow is expected to arrive from the west, hitting London in the late evening.

Meanwhile, nearly £5m was lost in sales at John Lewis alone at the weekend, as shoppers avoided the cold.

In the West End, stores are slashing prices by up to 70 per cent in an effort to get people back out in the final few days before Christmas.