Overnight, from January 10th to 11th, Madrid’s Barajas Airport managed to resume flight operations after an intense and rare snowstorm blanketed the city and suspended hundreds of flights. The airport managed to clear two runways, but the frost had delayed restoration efforts. A Twitter post from Spanish airport operator Aena indicated that on 20:03, January 10th, the first flight was able to depart.
The first takeoff
Translated from Spanish, the good news coming from Aena’s Twitter post reads as follows:
“First takeoff from T4S from AS Madrid-Barajas. We expect more exit operations to take place overnight. We also hope to receive some arrivals. Thank you to the airport and airline workers. Check your airline about the status of your flight.”
Primer despegue desde la T4S desde el AS #Madrid–#Barajas. Esperamos que durante la noche haya más operaciones de salida. También esperamos recibir algunas llegadas.
🛫 Gracias a los trabajadores del aeropuerto y las aerolíneas.
⚠️Consulta con tu aerolínea el estado de tu vuelo pic.twitter.com/PQORqeuoOd
— Aena (@aena) January 10, 2021
Looking at data from FlightRadar24.com, it appears that flight IB45, an Iberia Airbus A330 was one of the first services to leave the airport. The flight took passengers from cold and snowy Madrid to the much warmer city of Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic.
Over the course of the night, a very small handful of other flights, mostly long-haul widebodies, managed to take off as well. They include:
- Iberia A330s headed to Sao Paulo, Miami and Buenos Aires
- Iberia A350s flying to Santiago and Mexico City
- Iberia Express narrowbodies going to Gran Canaria and Tenerife
- An Aeromexico 787 headed to Mexico City
- A LATAM 777 headed for Sao Paulo
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The plan going forward
While many January 11th services were canceled, a few flights are scheduled for the morning. It appears that many more flights are anticipated to leave in the mid-afternoon. Hopefully, these will remain on track.
Iberia made clear on a website update that the recovery of the airport will be very gradual, meaning that returning to normal operation will take time. “Iberia will inform affected customers directly of possible schedule changes or cancellations that may occur in the next few hours,” the airline stated.
The Iberia Twitter post below states: “We started to get back into operation tonight with seven flights to America.”
Empezamos a recuperar la operación esta noche con siete vuelos a América.
Más información aquí: https://t.co/hH4FW6Vv3I
— Iberia (@Iberia) January 10, 2021
“Since the snow storm began, Iberia has deployed all its available means, first to serve the affected customers and now to try to recover its operation, but asks its customers for understanding because, as the airport itself and the authorities have indicated , current weather conditions and those of the next few days will slow down the return to normality.” -Iberia via press release
Storm Filomena and the heavy snowfall it brought with it caused extensive disruption to the airport’s (and indeed the whole country’s) operations. Indeed, the rare weather occurrence marked Spain’s heaviest snowfall in almost half a century.
While flights did manage to operate for much of January 8th, the situation worsened later in the evening with multiple aircraft being put in holding patterns.
Some flights had to be diverted to alternative airports, such as Zaragoza and Barcelona, among others. Over 60 flights had to be diverted during the storm. Ultimately, dozens of flights had to be canceled as the airport worked to clear snow off of its runways.
Were you affected by the snow in Madrid? Please share your experience with us by leaving a comment!