May 11, 2017 / 12:36 PM / 3 months ago

After night of chaos, Lisbon airport traffic normalising

LISBON (Reuters) - Thousands of angry passengers who were stranded in Lisbon's international airport by a refuelling system failure on Wednesday and had to sleep on the floor and luggage belts were finally able to travel on Thursday.

Portugal's ANA airport management company said the refuelling system resumed normal operation soon after midnight and the civil aviation authority allowed planes to take off during the night to send the travellers on their way after 64 flight cancellations and 322 delays.

The airport timetable still showed delays on most flights in early afternoon on Thursday, but most did not exceed an hour and ANA said the airport had resumed normal operations.

Lisbon has been experiencing a tourism boom for the past few years and the season is in full swing by May.

Passenger Romane Rouffart told Reuters she had to wait for her flight for 18 hours at the airport and that passengers on her Ryanair flight had been treated "like dogs".

"That's the jungle over here and the policemen were really stressful," she said.

During the night, passengers who had boarded one flight refused to leave the plane, after which the crew turned on the heating to force them out and called the police.

Passengers reported that the most affected flights were those operated by Portugal's flagship carrier TAP and Irish budget airline Ryanair.

Reporting by Andrei Khalip and Hazel Baker, editing by Ed Osmond

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