Hundreds of flights delayed at Schiphol, Eindhoven as thick fog blankets Netherlands

Fog covers Borneokade in Amsterdam Oost, 5 December 2019
Fog covers Borneokade in Amsterdam Oost, 5 December 2019NL TimesNL Times

Update, 11:20 a.m., 5 December 2019: A bulletin from European air traffic organization Eurocontrol published at 11:09 a.m. said the "Situation is deteriorating" at the Amsterdam airport, with arrivals still landing at a reduced rate and "high delays" dragging on into the afternoon. A similar report was issued for Eindhoven Airport. There were also a handful of delays at Rotterdam The Hague Airport, and the airports in Groningen-Eelde and Maastricht-Aachen.

Commuters throughout the Netherlands can expect thick fog along the roadways Thursday morning, and the reduced visibility was likely to cause problems throughout the morning at Eindhoven Airport. Meteorological institute KNMI issued a code yellow warning for the whole country except Zeeland and the Wadden Islands, with visibility falling below 200 meters in some places.

At Schiphol Airport there were 166 arriving flights and 105 departing flights scheduled before 1:30 p.m. that were facing delays predominately due to the weather, a spokesperson told NL Times. The delays were likely to last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Six departures and eight arriving flights were also cancelled, according to the airport's website.

The impact at Schiphol could last through the afternoon as flights that arrive late could then depart later than planned. Still, airport operations were expected to return to normal over the course of the day depending on the weather, the spokesperson said.

The fog was so thick in the south that all air traffic into Einhoven was held, rerouted, or cancelled, with arrivals not likely to begin before 11 a.m. All departures were stopped through 10 a.m. Four flights destined for Eindhoven Airport were diverted, another five were delayed, and two were cancelled by 9:30 a.m. Ten departing flights were delayed and two more cancelled through 10:30 a.m. with the airport warning that fog could cause some problems.

The cancelled flight pairs are routes between the Noord-Brabant city and Lisbon, and also Girona. Those flights were scrapped in connection with an air traffic control strike in France, the airport said.

Dangerous driving conditions due to poor visibility", the KNMI said. Road users are advised to drive slowly and keep a safe following distance. "Follow weather reports and warnings." The fog is expected to dissipate by late morning.

Travelers' association ANWB and public works department Rijkswaterstaat both also warned motorists to drive carefully due to the fog. According to ANWB, there were 555 kilometers of traffic jams on Dutch roads by 8:25 a.m. 

Overnight, a 105-meter long tanker ship sailing on the Waal River collided with a railroad bridge pillar near Zaltbommel, Gelderland. The accident was likely caused by the dense fog, a Gelderland-Zuid safety region spokesperson told AD. There were no injuries.

The tanker was loaded with potassium hydroxide, a hazardous substance, which did not leak into the waterway. However it was likely the caustic chemical compound would have to be offloaded to another ship as a safety measure.

Railway infrastructure firm ProRail was expected to inspect the pillar and bridge for damage on Thursday. The accident caused delays to rail traffic between Utrecht and Den Bosch, and the A2 highway was shut down in both directions leading up to the morning rush hour.