Snow and ice cause flight cancellations in Frankfurt

FRANKFURT Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:47am EST

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Passengers suffered delays and flight cancellations on Monday at Frankfurt airport, Europe's third busiest, after freezing rain had forced the airport to shut late on Sunday.

About 300 of the 1,200 scheduled arrivals and departures are expected to be cancelled, a spokesman for airport operator Fraport said.

On Sunday, 445 flights out of 1,170 were cancelled.

Ground staff for German airline Lufthansa were handing out bottles of water and bars of chocolate to people waiting in hour-long queues for rebookings and baggage drop.

"It's a disaster," said one man, who had been trying to fly to Turkey since Sunday evening.

In the city, whose skyline was barely visible through the icy fog, trams sat idle because sub-zero temperatures had frozen overhead lines and many commuter trains were delayed.

Icy roads and accidents caused kilometers-long traffic jams on motorways in the area, and a number of schools in the region remained closed for the day.

(Reporting by Peter Maushagen and Victoria Bryan; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Louise Ireland)