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Airport wins Battle of Brritain

PUBLISHED: 16:25 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 09:54 12 August 2010

A HISTORIC airport bucked the trend by managing to remain open throughout the snowy weather. Staff at Biggin Hill Airport - famous

A HISTORIC airport bucked the trend by managing to remain open throughout the snowy weather.

Staff at Biggin Hill Airport - famous for its role in the Battle of Britain - put the success down to a "small and dedicated" team of people who helped keep the runway operating throughout the cold snap.

Using special clearance equipment - a snow plough, blower and sweeper in sequence - staff worked continuously through the night last Tuesday, keeping the build-up of snow at bay.

Despite the heavy fall, the airport was open and available for flights from 10am on January 6 and for the rest of the week.

Airport director Peter Lonergan said that his team worked "well beyond the call of duty" to keep the airport operating.

He said: "In addition to our normal traffic we received several visitors on diversion from other airfields who expressed complete satisfaction with the state of the runway and parking areas in the prevailing conditions.

"One of our air traffic controllers, who opened the airfield at 7am on Thursday had earlier travelled in from Southampton.

"Other than Heathrow, Biggin Hill Airport provided the only runway available to global business aviation in the London area for two full days. That reflects great credit on our team of professionals, who were consistently one step ahead in dealing with the worsening weather."

Biggin Hill and its surrounding villages were among the worst affected areas of the borough, with some residents snowed in.

Pensioners Pat and Doreen Ellis, of Edward Road, Biggin Hill, were left housebound by the snowfall.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mrs Ellis, 76, said: "Our next-door neighbour has been helping us do some shopping. We haven't been out in the car at all for days. When you're used to going out, it's hard being housebound.

"We didn't go out for three days last week. Now we go out in the afternoon but it freezes again at night.

"We're a bit fed up. It looks pretty but we want to go out. Then again, we're nice and warm.

"Biggin Hill is usually badly affected. Sometimes when it's raining in Bromley it's snowing here because we are so high up.

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