Heathrow Airport said it would operate a much reduced service on Sunday with snow and freezing temperatures predicted to hit much of England over the weekend.

Heavy snow is forecast overnight across central and southern England, with a possibility of up to 15 cm could fall in the London area. Temperatures were also not expected to climb above -2 Celsius, leading to icy conditions.

As a result, just 70 percent of normal services will operate from Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, operator BAA said in a statement on Saturday.

A further revised schedule with additional cancellations may be made on a rolling basis, BAA said. We expect the percentage of passengers who are able to fly to be higher than 70 percent as airlines will transfer people between flights.

An update on which flights will be operating will be released at 6 p.m.

This decision ensures that the greatest number of passengers can fly with the minimum amount of disruption, said Heathrow Chief Operating Officer Normand Boivin.

It also means that those passengers whose flights are cancelled will know in advance, and can make alternative arrangements or rebook in relative comfort.

London's Gatwick Airport said there was no change to its schedule yet but warned passengers to check with airlines and the airport.

There was also a warning of potential disruption to services at London's Stansted airport but a spokeswoman said there were no planned cancellations at the moment..

(Reporting by Michael Holden)