THE cold snap meant problems for travellers returning to the North-East via the region's biggest airport.

After sporadic problems throughout Sunday night, Newcastle Airport was closed for about an hour in the early hours of Monday, from about midnight.

Officials said the poor visibility and freezing conditions forced them to re-route four inbound flights.

A RyanAir service from Dublin had to divert to nearby Durham Tees Valley Airport.

An Air France flight from Paris was switched to Edinburgh International, while an easyjet flight from Budapest and a British Airways flight from Gatwick went to Glasgow.

Passengers had to put up with delays as arrangements were made to bring them back to the North-East.

Two outbound flights to Paris and Dublin were cancelled, and a 6.30am flight to Brussels was delayed for three hours until conditions improved before take-off.

Later in the day, the tables were turned as Newcastle accepted a diverted flight from Dublin that had been headed to Durham Tees Valley.

The return flight to Dublin also took off from Newcastle. Passengers had to be transferred between the airport by coach.

Snow forced the closure of the runway at Durham Tees Valley between 10am and midday. It then re-opened again, but further heavy snow flurries forced staff to close the runway between 12.10pm and 12.40pm, before things got back to normal.

Two flights were cancelled, including an inbound flight from Heathrow, while a handful of flights were delayed.

An airport spokeswoman said: "There was some minor disruption, but a lot of hard work from staff helped clear the runway and keep things running."

Spokesmen for both airports said snow crews were on standby to keep the runways clear last night.

On the railways, train companies said they were relatively unaffected.

David Mallender, a spokesman for First Trans-Pennine, said: "We made sure platforms were cleared of frost and snow for passengers arriving in the morning and gave staff extra time to get into work.

"Trains were running fine in the peak periods and there was no problem with the tracks.

"About 90 per cent were arriving within about ten minutes, which we would expect."

Some services were delayed on the East Coast Main Line by up to an hour, but generally the trains kept to schedule.

York-based GNER said all its trains were running as normal.

Network Rail has been in regular contact with forecasters to try to prevent the winter weather from affecting train services.

De-icing trains, point heaters, and teams of workers known as ''snowmen'' have been deployed to prevent problems in snow-hit areas.