Munich Airport has suspended all airfield operations until at least 6 am on Sunday after extreme winter weather blanketed the airport in a thick layer of snow.
Flights had initially been grounded until midday on Saturday but as the day wore on and snow continued to fall, the airport was forced to admit defeat. Rail services have also been severely affected, and the airport has even been forced to shutter its own onsite Christmas market.
In a statement, Munich Airport urged passengers not to travel to the airport on Saturday and warned that there would likely be more disruption on Sunday even if it manages to clear the airfield of snow and ice.
German flag carrier Lufthansa has already been forced to cancel at least 147 flights, while its CityLine subsidiary has nixed 114 flights, around a third of its daily schedule. More cancellations are expected to pile up as the day continues, and Lufthansa has warned of disruption at its second Frankfurt hub as well.
Munich and the surrounding area have experienced heavy snowfall over the last few days, although the airfield closure will cause airport managers who should have been prepared for this type of winter weather.
Germany’s aviation industry has, however, struggled to recover from the pandemic with operational efficiency lagging behind other countries and continuing staff shortages and supply chain delays still big issues.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.