As announced, Munich Airport suspended its flight operations on Tuesday morning. This was confirmed by a spokesman for the German Press Agency. It was said that all surfaces were iced over due to freezing rain. There should therefore be no take-offs and landings from the start of operations at 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. According to the airport's online arrival and departure schedule, all listed flights had been canceled or postponed to a later date.
"The operating areas will be de-iced in the first half of the day. The plan is to allow air traffic to start again from midday," the airport wrote on its homepage. "However, it can be assumed that a large number of flights will have to be canceled later in the day for safety reasons."
According to the information, the airport wants to use the first half of the day to de-ice the operating areas after the announced freezing rain. The plan is to start air traffic again from midday, it was said. However, the flight schedule will probably still be severely restricted in the afternoon. Passengers should plan for this and find out more from their airline.
Lufthansa is currently expecting restrictions on flight operations at Munich Airport well beyond Tuesday. It is assumed that there will be significant restrictions for the rest of the week, a company spokesman told the German Press Agency late on Monday evening. Customers with booked tickets to or from Munich would have the opportunity to cancel their ticket free of charge. This applies to tickets with a travel date up to December 9th.
Because of the restrictions on air traffic due to the severe onset of winter in large parts of Bavaria, around 1,500 passengers were still stranded at the airport on Monday evening, the spokesman said. Among other things, they would spend the night on camp beds in the airport and be provided with drinks and food. On the X platform, passengers complained on Monday that promised connecting flights had been canceled several times.
Munich is the second largest German airport and an important hub for international air traffic. International passengers in particular were stranded, some of whom did not have a visa to enter the country, so they spent the night at the airport.
The heavy snowfall from the first weekend in Advent is also having an impact on roads and rails. Deutsche Bahn (DB) expects further disruptions in Bavaria and effects nationwide until the middle of the week, especially in Baden-Württemberg and towards Switzerland. Travelers were asked to postpone non-essential journeys until December 6th (Wednesday). Munich Central Station, for example, was only operational to a very limited extent on Monday.
The railway workers' union EVG and the Pro Bahn passenger association took the chaos on the railway as an opportunity to raise the alarm. They demanded consequences for the winter suitability of the railway. EVG chairman Martin Burkert told the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Monday) that the German rail infrastructure was “largely dilapidated”. There must be large investments such as in Austria.
The federal chairman of the Pro Bahn passenger association, Detlev Neuß, told the newspaper that rail traffic was "only on edge after decades of austerity policy." One of the many problems is that the railway has recently dismantled more and more tracks as parking spaces and is now parking entire trains directly in stations when they can no longer get to their destination. “The congested stations mean that rail traffic is blocked even more quickly and comes to a standstill over a large area.”
The combination of huge amounts of snow and freezing temperatures is a particular challenge, it was said from several sources. On the tram in Munich, ice froze in the rails and caused vehicles used for clearing to derail.
In the districts of Starnberg and Mühldorf am Inn and in Augsburg, many schools remained closed on Monday. According to the information, the reason was the masses of snow that weighed down on the roofs of the buildings. Classes are scheduled to resume almost everywhere on Tuesday.
In the most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, snowfall since Sunday evening has brought one to four centimeters of white splendor into the lowlands, according to the German Weather Service in Essen. Motorway and road maintenance departments were in constant use, and in Cologne hundreds of employees were also on winter service missions to clear roads and footpaths. Accidents were common in the region on slippery, snow-covered roads.
And the situation remains tense in many regions of Germany: Even if it gets a little milder, the German Weather Service is warning of possible black ice in many places in the coming days. Especially in the western mountains and the further east you go, there is an increased risk of black ice, said DWD meteorologist Marco Manitta on Monday in Offenbach. The regions between the Main and the Danube are particularly at risk from Monday evening to Tuesday morning. And: “It cannot be ruled out that the black ice situation will occasionally turn out to be storm-like.” Only along the Rhine and in the very west did the temperatures stay above zero at night. Severe frost could occur again in southeast Bavaria.