Chaos at Bristol Airport

PUBLISHED: 16:05 10 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:25 24 May 2010

THOUSANDS of people faced travel chaos after the runway at Bristol International Airport was closed following a row about safety

THOUSANDS of people faced travel chaos after the runway at Bristol International Airport was closed following a row about safety. Easyjet announced on Friday it would not fly in or out of the airport after raising concerns about its planes skidding on temporary sections of the runway when landing in wet weather. By Friday afternoon other travel giants, including Aer Lingus, Thomson and British Airways cancelled or diverted all flights in and out of Bristol International.A number of flights were diverted to other airports including Cardiff and Birmingham, with passengers being forced to make lengthy bus journeys to catch their planes. Airport chiefs eventually closed the runway on Sunday to allow extra work to be carried out to the temporary surface.A £17 million scheme to resurface the runway got underway in October and was expected to last five months. Concerns were raised about planes skidding in the wet weather after it was reported no grooves had been cut on the temporary section of runway.Bosses at easyjet said the smooth surface was having an effect on braking distances on the runway and cancelled operations."The runway was closed on Sunday afternoon to allow contractors to cut grooves in the surface. "In total 445 flights were disrupted over the three days, with thousands of passengers being affected by the cancellations.The airport was re-opened again on Monday morning, with operators saying flights would soon resume to normal.A spokesman for Bristol International Airport said the safety of the runway at all times complied with guidelines set down by the Civil Aviation Authority (CCA).He said: "At all times the CCA had given the runway a clean bill of health. "A section of runway being resurfaced had not had the grooves installed and because of the concerns raised by the airlines, additional work has been carried out to put the grooves in this section of runway. "The engineering work undertaken overnight proved successful in increasing the drainage of water from the 300 metre section of temporary surface in place on the part of the runway being resurfaced."The runway re-opened at 10.25am on Monday and the first flight to land was the Continental Airlines flight from New York.

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