UPDATEDWinter freeze disrupts air traffic

Flight delays and cancelations across EX-YU

Snowstorms, fog and freezing weather have disrupted flight operations across the former Yugoslavia. Podgorica has been closed on and off for the past three days while Sarajevo Airport closed its doors this morning until 20.00 CET. In Belgrade meanwhile, the airport was evacuated when an anonymous call came that there was a bomb on board Air France's jet, which turned out to be false.

Both snow and fog are proving to be a problem at Sarajevo Airport. Sarajevo closed this morning with all departures cancelled for the day. Nearly all flights from Sarajevo were cancelled yesterday as well. Only early morning departures and B&H Airlines’ flights to Zurich and Istanbul were unaffected. Austrian was forced to divert its evening Sarajevo service to Belgrade. Operations resumed in the evening hours with Austrian, Jat and Croatia Airlines performing their flights as normal.

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport saw short delays throughout the day however there was some panic after an anonymous phone caller said there was a bomb onboard an Air France jet which was being prepared for its return flight to Paris. The airport was forced to evacuate and the flight cancelled although no bomb was found. The caller, a 62 year old from Bor, was later arrested. He said he was “only having some fun”. It was later disclosed that the man in question is mentally challenged.

In Montenegro, most flights to and from Podgorica Airport have been cancelled for the last three days due to heavy snowfall. There is now a big backlog of passengers on the Podgorica - Belgrade - Podgorica service with both Montenegro Airlines and Jat Airways cancelling most flights between the two cities. The two airlines attempted to operate flights to Tivat yesterday but before making their descent into the coastal city were forced to turn back to Belgrade. In order to clear the backlog of passengers Jat planned to operate an early morning service to the Montenegrin capital at 4.40 today but has cancelled the flight.

In Skopje, Priština and Ljubljana, flights have been operating normally (other than those to Montenegro) although all with an average forty minute delay. Out of all the airports in the former Yugoslav region, Zagreb was operating most smoothly with nearly all flights taking off from the airport yesterday, registering only minor delays. Split Airport has been closed due to snow and extreme winds reaching up to 180 kilometres per hour.

All of Eastern Europe is grappling with a Siberian freeze which is spreading westwards. Freezing conditions, which have claimed hundreds of lives across the continent, are set to persist for days to come.


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