The storm front Sabine, which also bears the name Ciara in Great Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands, has passed over Switzerland in the last few days. With wind speeds of up to 180 km/h, many damages were caused and air traffic was also significantly affected.
Hundreds of flights from various airlines were cancelled at Swiss airports. Safe take-offs and landings could no longer be guaranteed, so many passengers landed in unexpected places. In Zurich or Frankfurt instead of London, or in Vienna instead of Düsseldorf; the airplanes had to be diverted to other airports due to the strong winds. The financial effects of this will probably have a significant impact on the airlines.
The aircraft that crossed the Atlantic despite the storm were also affected. While passengers travelling to the USA had to endure a much longer flight time, up to two hours longer than the average traffic, passengers on their way to Europe were able to save this time. On Sunday (February 9th) a plane from New York (JFK) landed at London Heathrow after only 4 hours and 56 minutes! The same morning, two more planes reached London Heathrow airport with a flight time of less than 5 hours, which is a record for a non-sonic aircraft. Thanks to the storm, the planes reached top speeds of up to 1327 km/h. By comparison, an average flight on this route takes about 6 hours and 15 minutes. Nevertheless, the absolute record on this route is still held by the supersonic airliner Concorde, which in 1996 covered the distance in just under 3 hours.
On Radio Top, cancelled.ch jurist Simon Sommer explained how these stormy times affect the legal entitlement of the passengers for a compensation payment:
Link to the article “Airlines müssen Passagiere ans Ziel bringen” from Radio Top
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