Heavy fog grounds flights in the Netherlands

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Heavy fog over the Netherlands forced at least one airport to close its runways and divert inbound flights on Sunday (Dec 16), leaving thousands of passengers stranded, the airports and news reports said.

The southern Eindhoven international airport has been closed since noon (7pm Singapore time), with some 27 inbound flights re-routed and at least six other flights cancelled, according to the airport's website.

The same number of departing flights have been cancelled, affecting between 6,500 to 8,000 passengers, a local news report said.

Meanwhile, Amsterdam's Schiphol airport had to cancel around 100 flights, the NOS public broadcaster reported.

"Take-off and landing capabilities have been reduced by half," the NOS said.

The country's flagship carrier KLM normally operates some 65 flights per hour, but during the heaviest foggy period, only 17 flights could land or take off.

It was not clear when the fog was expected to lift but the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute issued a "code yellow" warning in most of the country's central and southern regions until at least midnight.