January 10, 2009 / 6:59 PM / in 9 years

Snow continues to trap thousands at Madrid airport

MADRID, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Thousands of passengers were still stranded at Madrid’s Barajas airport on Saturday after snow kept runways closed and flights grounded.

Only two of the airport’s four runways were operating, national television TVE said, citing comments by the head of communications for Spanish airports operator AENA.

An estimated 985 flights were expected to take off and land on Saturday, compared with 1,200 normally, according to AENA data.

The airports operator said it was meeting Barajas officials to try to re-establish normal service after one of the heaviest snowfalls in decades caused the international airport to shut down for five hours on Friday.

More snow fell on the capital overnight allowing no respite for passengers, including those travelling on Iberia IBLA.MC who have already suffered weeks of delays and cancellations because of industrial action by pilots.

Spain, like many other parts of Europe, has had an unusually cold winter so far. (Reporting by Inmaculada Sanz; Writing by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Katie Nguyen)

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