Thousands of passengers were stranded on Jan. 1 in Istanbul's two main airports due to continuous heavy snowfall, adding to the cancelation of around 300 scheduled flights on Dec. 31.
“We have been waiting for two days. There are some 400 people here. If they notified us 24 hours before we would have adjusted our plans” a passenger named Ahmet Arslan said.
“I could not find a single interlocutor here. We asked them to bring someone who is in charge, and that person never actually came” Kadir Özturan, another customer, said.
Reports indicate police had to intervene against customers who grew aggressive in the face of excessive delays.
Around 2,000 passengers whose flights were canceled due to snowfall in Istanbul's Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen Airports were transferred to hotels by Turkish Airlines.
Some passengers who suffered from the lack of rooms in hotels had to sleep on benches and floors of Atatürk Airport on Dec. 31.
In addition, Turkish carriers announced more cancelations on Jan. 1, with Turkish Airlines cancelling 181 flights and low-cost carrier Pegasus cancelling 63 flights. Meanwhile, low-cost Turkish carrier Onur Air alone cancelled three flights to and from Istanbul.
Atatürk Airport was also closed to air traffic for 30 minutes due to heavy snowfall early Jan. 1; six airplanes were forced to divert to airports in Ankara, Antalya and Çorlu.
Meanwhile, snow teams at Istanbul Atatürk Airport are continuing to monitor runways against frost and engage in de-icing work to keep the airfields useable.
Snowfall in Istanbul began early Dec. 30, 2015, and is expected to continue until Jan. 2.
Delays and cancellations caused a brawl at Istanbul Atatürk Airport when angry passengers headed towards the counters of Onur Air's counters.