Europe’s busiest airport shut down in Istanbul while schools and vaccination centres closed in Athens as a rare snowstorm blanketed swathes of the eastern Mediterranean region, causing blackouts and traffic havoc, writes Al Jazeera.
The closure of Istanbul Airport, where the roof of one of the cargo terminals collapsed under the heavy snow, causing no injuries, grounded flights stretching from the Middle East and Africa to Europe and Asia.
Travel officials told AFP news agency it marked the gleaming glass-and-steel structure’s first shutdown since it replaced Istanbul’s old Ataturk Airport as the new hub for Turkish Airlines in 2019.
“Due to adverse conditions, all flights at Istanbul Airport have been temporarily stopped for flight safety”, the airport said in a statement on Twitter.
The shutdown dealt a major headache to the 16 million residents of Turkey’s largest city, where cars ploughed into each other skidding down steep, sleet-covered streets and highways turned into parking lots.