Britain's second busiest airport has closed for the day as the early winter tightens its grip on battered transport systems across the UK.
Efforts to clear the runways at Gatwick overnight failed in the face of repeated falls of fresh snow and there will now be no flights in or out until at least 6am tomorrow.
Eurostar services, which caused national controversy when they failed in February last year, are also delayed by an hour because of snow in northern France as well as the UK, while scores of other trains have been cancelled. Major disruption is affecting timetables in Scotland and down the east coast of England, as well as commuter services in London - where two trains were stuck for five hours last night after points froze, The Guardian reports.
A spokeswoman for the West Sussex airport said: "We will not be able to operate until 6am tomorrow at the earliest and we are advising passengers with flights that had been due to leave today not to come to the airport. We brought in extra people to try to clear the runway. We had a vast army of people. But as fast as they were clearing the snow, the quicker it settled again."
She said there were a number of passengers at the airport and they were being looked after. She said: "We are catering for them and trying to help them with travel away from the airport. Those with flights today are being asked to check with their airline," The Press Association reports.