The roof of one of the Istanbul Airport‘s cargo terminals collapsed under the heavy snow, causing no injuries, when rare snowstorm blanketed swathes of the eastern Mediterranean region on Monday, causing blackouts and traffic havoc.
Europe’s busiest airport was forced to shut down, grounding flights stretching from the Middle East and Africa to Europe and Asia today.
Turkish travel officials said that today’s closure marked the new airport’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.
Istanbul Airport serviced more than 37 million passengers last year, becoming one of the world’s most important air hubs.
Turkish Airlines said it was suspending all Istanbul Airport flights until at least 4am (01:00 GMT) on Tuesday.
The shutdown caused 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.
The Istanbul governor’s office warned drivers they would not be able to enter the city from Thrace, a region stretching across the European part of Turkey to its western border with Bulgaria and Greece.
Shopping malls closed early, food delivery services shut down and the city’s iconic “simit” bagel stalls stood empty because suppliers could not make their way through the snow.