© ReutersAir France planes parked on the snow-covered tarmac at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
Firefighters called in to clear snow at Charles de Gaulle airport as freezing conditions continue to wreak havoc

Passengers at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris were evacuated from one of its terminals today amid fears for their safety because of an accumulation of snow on the roof.

Bernard Cathelain, the deputy director of the Paris airport authority ADP, said the terminal was still operating but passengers had been asked to move.

Le Monde reported that about 60cm of snow had built up on the roof of the terminal and about 2,000 people had been evacuated. Firefighters have been sent in to clear the snow.

The problem added to the woes at Charles de Gaulle, where freezing conditions and a strike at the main French factory producing de-icing fluid forced the cancellation of half - about 400 - of the flights scheduled for this morning. A supply of de-icing fluid (glycol) has been flown in from the US but many passengers already face missing Christmas dinner, which is traditionally served tonight in France.

An Air France ground official, Michel Emeyriat, told the iTele TV channel that getting people home was "our goal for tonight" and long-haul flights were getting priority treatment.

The airport has suffered structural problems before. Four people at terminal 2E were killed in 2004 when the roof collapsed shortly after the building's inauguration.

Fresh snowfall and cold weather has caused travel problems across Europe. Dusseldorf airport in Germany was shut for several hours this morning, causing the cancellation of about 65 flights.

The railway line between Hanover and Berlin was closed overnight because of ice-covered overhead electric wires but services resumed early today.

Irish Ferries added extra crossings between Britain and Ireland after about 40,000 travellers were left stranded or delayed at Dublin airport because of blizzards that caused the airport to close three times yesterday. Dublin airport had eight inches of snow yesterday and emergency staff cleared an estimated 120,000 tonnes of snow overnight. Aer Lingus and Ryanair said they were both attempting a full schedule today but feared more snow could be on the way.

The unexpected Irish cold snap is killing cows, sheep and pigs and particularly young salmon at Ireland's fish farms, which are used to stock lakes in springtime for anglers.

Brussels airport was closed until 4pm (3pm GMT) today after 25cm of snow. fell. A statement on the airport's website reads: "Because of heavy snowfall there is only one runway in use. We have delays and cancellations so please check the flight info before coming over to the airport. For the moment we don't have enough capacity to handle incoming traffic. Only a few flights are accepted."

By contrast, the situation in the UK was improving after days of problems. Major airports said services were operating largely as normal but Christmas travellers still had to contend with reduced rail services and icy roads. About a quarter of services were cancelled on some rail routes.