“Exceptional conditions”: Heavy snowfall cancels flights at major airports in Greece and Turkey

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Heavy snowfall has caused major travel disruption in Greece and Turkey, with more snow still expected to hit the region.

Istanbul International Airport — Europe’s busiest airport in 2021 — said it had suspended all operations on Monday until midnight.

In a statement on Twitter, the general management of civil airports in Turkey said that “exceptional conditions” and strong winds had reduced visibility on the runways.

Turkish Airlines also decided to cancel all its flights to and from Istanbul Airport until 04:00 on Tuesday for “the safety of its passengers”.

A spokesperson said one of the airline’s cargo terminals had collapsed under the weight of snow at the main international airport. No casualties have been reported.

The Sabiha Gökçen Airport in Istanbul was still operating normally on Monday despite several reported delays.

Snow has also covered much of Greece as far south as the island of Crete, as a result of a cold snap with temperatures as low as -14 degrees Celsius.

A number of Greek schools and the country’s parliament were closed on Monday, while the metro line to Athens’ main airport was disrupted.

Meteorologists have told national media that the Greek capital has not experienced such weather conditions since 1968.

Snow even fell on several Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, isolating some mountain villages on Andros, Naxos, and Tinos and covering the beaches of Mykonos.

Heavy snowfall also occurred on the island of Evia, north of Athens, which was ravaged by fires last summer. Municipalities there have redoubled their efforts to keep the main roads open, while many villages suffered power cuts.

READ ALSO  Three killed by forest fires in Turkey as homes evacuated near southern coast

The snowfall is expected to continue on Tuesday, with temperatures below freezing, civil protection officials said.

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