Image: A passenger sleeps inside Charles de Gaulle airport
Yoan Valat  /  EPA
A passenger sleeps inside Charles de Gaulle airport northeast of Paris on Monday after flights were halted by the French civil aviation authority due to a severe windstorm.
updated 2/9/2009 7:16:42 PM ET 2009-02-10T00:16:42

The French civil aviation authority ordered flights at the three airports serving the French capital halted for 14 hours starting Monday evening because of a severe windstorm.

Flights were being halted at Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Le Bourget airports from 8 p.m. (3 p.m. EST) Monday until 10 a.m. (5 a.m. EST) Tuesday.

The storm was expected to bring winds reaching at least 60 mph.

Halting flights is aimed at assuring the safety of passengers and aircraft, which could be put at risk by such gusts, a statement said.

The civil aviation authority asked passengers whose flights are being canceled not to go to the airport.

Aeroports de Paris, which runs the Paris airports, said that especially strong winds mean that airlines "can no longer, for safety reasons, hook steps, tow aircraft nor proceed to their loading."

Takeoff and landing are no longer possible when wind speed reaches a certain level, depending on the type of aircraft, a statement from Aeroports de Paris said.

It was not immediately known how many flights were affected.

The French national weather service has issued an alert for a large swath of the French territory until 7 p.m. (2 p.m. EST) Tuesday. The alert covers seven regions, from Normandy and Brittany in the west, south along the Atlantic coast to the Landes and including the Paris region.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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