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Thousands left without bags as storm costs soar

Dan MacGuill · 15 Mar 2013, 13:36

Published: 15 Mar 2013 13:36 GMT+01:00

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Around 10,000 pieces of luggage remained in Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on Friday, after this week's winter weather caused havoc at airports across northern France.

A spokesman for Air France told French daily Le Figaro that “extraordinary weather conditions - snow and ice” had caused difficulties in delivering the thousands of suitcases left over after flights were cancelled and passengers forced to return home.

The airline will have the pieces of luggage sent to their rightful owners “before the weekend,” and that a dedicated staff of 500 had been assigned this duty, Air France spokesman Olivier Janicaud said.

Meanwhile, the cost of car insurance claims arising from this week’s unseasonal weather could climb past the €100 million mark, it has been claimed.

Le Figaro reported on Friday that 100,000 people had contacted members of the French federation of insurance companies, seeking mostly small claims related to the heavy snow and ice.

Some experts have suggested that the storm could cost the French economy more than €700 million.

A representative of the French federation of road hauliers on Thursday estimated that between lorries being stuck in snow and ice, wages paid despite commercial inactivity, and added fuel costs from truck-drivers having to leave their planned routes to avoid accident hotspots, the bill could amount to €20 million per day for the trucking industry alone. 

The rest of the bill looked set to come from train maintenance, rail and air ticket refunds, ruined crops, repairs to road surfaces and the restoration of electricity to thousands of homes in northern France, according to French daily Le Parisien.

Furthermore, there was still the risk that melting ice and snow could leaded to flooding in some areas.

There were many other reports of travel chaos and nightmare journeys caused by severe winter weather in France this week. Click here for TEN HORROR STORIES FROM FRANCE'S WINTER WHITEOUT.

Click here for photo-gallery of this week's late winter storm


Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

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