Turkish authorities shut down Istanbul airport, Europe’s busiest airport, as the region gets hit with a rare snowstorm causing blackouts and traffic havoc. The flights from Istanbul airport will remain suspended until January 25.
“Due to adverse conditions, all flights at Istanbul Airport have been temporarily stopped for flight safety,” the airport mentioned in a statement released on its official Twitter handle. The airport extended its suspension twice that services would not resume until late evening. There are chances that airlines' suspension will extend, in case if the snowfall remains the same.
The rooftop of one of the cargo terminals of Istanbul airport collapsed due to heavy snowfall, but caused no injuries. Istanbul Airport provided service to more than 37 million passengers in 2021, becoming one of the world’s most important airports. Several people question the location of Istanbul airport, along with a remote patch of the Black Sea coast. The region is mainly covered with fog in winter.
Besides air travel, railway transport also got affected in Istanbul. A state-run TV reported that people were injured when a railway engine crashed into a stuck train with about 200 people on board. The accident occurred near the town of Livadia in central Greece. Thousands of passengers also got stranded in cars and buses as main roads in the city were closed by heavy snowfall.
Istanbul Remains Frozen
Turkish authorities have declared holidays for all institutions in the event of decreased mobility. The government has also banned private vehicles on the road as the regions’ emergency teams are cleaning the pathways. The drivers cannot enter the city from Thrace, an area stretching across the European part of Turkey to its western borders with Bulgaria and Greece. The transportation officials have also closed roads across large parts of central and southeastern Turkey, first hit by a snowstorm last week.
Public places are mostly closed, including the shopping malls, food delivery centres, bagel stall foods, reported Al Jazeera. Only the main branches of civil service centres, food stores, pharmacies and gas stations will stay open for service. The snowfall in Istanbul had reached 80-85 centimetres (31-33 inches) deep in some parts. There are around 16 million residents in Istanbul.