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Snow and ice snag travel at Europe's airports

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Christmas Eve stuck at the airport
  • Brussels airport says all but one runway shut because of heavy snowfall
  • Airports in London are operating, with some delays and cancellations possible
  • Charles de Gaulle airport cancels a third of afternoon and evening flights
  • About a foot of snow falls on the roof, forcing a partial evacuation

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(CNN) -- A part of Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris was evacuated Friday due to the accumulation of snow on the roof and hundreds of flights were canceled because of a shortage of de-icing fluid, authorities said, as blustery winter weather snarled travel across Europe.

Nearly 2,000 passengers were moved from Terminal 2E to other parts of the airport, French authorities said, calling the measure "preventative."

Part of the roof of that terminal collapsed in 2004, shortly after the state-of-the-art building was inaugurated. Four people were killed, media reports at the time said.

About a foot of snow had fallen on the roof Friday by the time authorities decided to close the terminal, French media reports said.

Authorities were working to clear it and reopen the terminal. French authorities earlier Friday asked airlines to cancel half their morning flights to and from the airport because de-icing fluid was running low, they said.

That led to the cancellation of 400 flights Friday morning -- 200 arrivals and 200 departures.

Then, early in the afternoon, authorities asked airlines to scrap a third of their flights for the rest of the day.

Charles de Gaulle is the second busiest airport in Europe, after Heathrow in London.

By Friday evening, conditions there were improving, and flights on Christmas Day were predicted to depart as scheduled.

Authorities have said that as many as 200 passengers may spend the night at the airport, where some 800 mattresses were set up in a makeshift dormitory.

Elsewhere at Charles de Gaulle Friday, a chartered plane arrived safely carrying 84 Haitian children, who are to be adopted by French families, the government said. Medical and logistical supplies met the flight.

Paris' second airport, Orly, has not had to cancel flights because it is not running out of glycol, which is using for de-icing, authorities said.

Despite the winter weather, Air France said it intended to operate all of its flights between the Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. It also said it intended to operate all of its long-haul flights.

Airports across Europe are still struggling to get passengers to their destinations after they were snarled by unexpected snow over the weekend.

In Brussels, heavy snowfall forced the closure of all but one runway, the airport said in a statement. It was only accepting a few flights, as the airport said it did not have sufficient capacity to handle incoming traffic.

Heathrow, in London, said in a statement that it was open and that most flights would operate on Friday.

London's Gatwick Airport similarly said it was open and that flights were operating, but it warned there may be some delays and cancellations because of snowfall across Northern Europe.

Dublin, Ireland's airport was experiencing delays Friday because of de-icing and because airplanes were in the wrong places after the week's disruptions, the airport said in a statement.

At the Frankfurt airport in Germany, most flights were operating as scheduled but some were scratched and others were delayed, said duty officer Heinz Fass. About 45 landings and 35 starts were canceled, he said, because of winter weather at other European airports.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Transport Administration wrote on its website that the traffic situation was "extremely alarming" and that there were major problems with both road and rail traffic, especially in the southern parts of the country. The problems there are expected to continue through Christmas Day.

CNN's Niki Cook and Per Nyberg contributed to this report.