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Clariant warns airports of de-icer freeze

Swiss specialty chemicals group Clariant has warned of a short halt in its production of the aircraft de-icer used by many European airports.

Clariant, based at Muttenz near Basel, said production would stop between January 1-4 because “very high demand” for the product in recent weeks had led to a shortage of raw materials.

“According to weather conditions and the [de-icing] stock levels in airports, this could have a negative effect on European air travel,” said the company on Thursday.

Europe has been in the grip of particularly snowy winter for weeks, with flights at Brussels and Paris airports unable to take off because of a de-icing shortage. London’s Heathrow airport meanwhile could not de-ice aircraft quickly enough.

Since October, Clariant has been working around the clock to produce the product which has been delivered to some 100 European airports. Production this month was two times higher compared with December 2009.

Swiss airports say however they have sufficient reserves.

British de-icer producer Kilfrost said it would increase production during the Clariant stoppage, serving its own clients first but also attempting to reach Clariant customers.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR