Snow storm hits Istanbul, flights cancelled

Istanbul, Dec 30 (IANS) More than 170 flights were cancelled on Wednesday as the first snowfall of the season hit Istanbul, a media report said.

Besides domestic flights, some international flights of Turkish Airlines, the country’s national flag carrier, were also halted, including those to Hamburg, Munich, Milan, Sofia, Brussels and Tehran, Xinhua reported.

The snowfall that began around noon is expected to increase in severity on Thursday.

“For this reason, some journeys from Istanbul Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen airports are cancelled and it is likely that there will be more weather-related problems on the same days,” said a statement on Turkish Airlines’ website.

Turkey’s budget Pegasus Airlines also called off its 29 domestic flights due to the “meteorological obstacles”, the company announced on its website.

In a written statement, the Istanbul Governor’s Office advised residents against going outside unless necessary and encouraged them to use public transportation instead of private cars.

More than 1,000 snow-clearing vehicles and other heavy machinery with more than 5,000 personnel have been put on standby for emergencies, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality announced in a statement.

The first snowfall of the season, however, made many excited as they can embrace the coming New Year under snow for the first time in years.

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