Tehran's airport snowed in for third day
( dpa ) - The chaos at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport entered its third day Tuesday with all flights cancelled because of renewed heavy snowfall and a frozen runway.
After snow cancelled all flights Sunday, the airport announced they would resume Monday morning, but only one local airliner could take off to Dubai, and all other flights were put on hold.
Emirates Airlines asked its passengers on a flight to Dubai to board Monday afternoon, but after almost 10 hours on the stationary plane, all passengers disembarked. The flight was eventually cancelled and passengers asked to return to Tehran.
The new airport, which became fully operational in November, is located about 50 kilometres south of the Iranian capital, and passengers can only return to the city by airport taxis.
Large numbers of passengers and frozen roads meant that demand far exceeded the supply of taxis, and the few taxis that were driving the route charged up to three times the normal fare.
Germany's Hansa Rostock football team, which was in Tehran for a friendly game on Saturday, also remained stuck at the airport, unable to return to Dubai, where the team had been preparing for the second half of the season. The team members had to return to the city until further notice.
It was for the first time in Iran that civil air transportation has been disrupted for three consecutive days.
Passengers blamed the disruptions on the new airport, which they said lacks necessary facilities.
They claimed such a situation never occurred in the previous Mehrabad airport in western Tehran.
Internal flights going to Mehrabad airport were resumed Monday, but it was unclear whether they would also be effected on Tuesday after the renewed snowfall.
Heavy snowfall and temperatures below minus 10 degrees caused chaos across Tehran, forcing the government to close all its offices for the next two days.
The cold season in Tehran usually starts in mid-December and lasts until the end of February, but the meteorological office has called the current conditions "unprecedented."