Airports resume flights as ash cloud drifts away





All UK airports were open for business this morning after the volcanic ash cloud drifted away from British airspace.

National Air Traffic Services (Nats) said all airports across the UK reopened at 7am.

Airports in the Republic of Ireland reopened at 4am after the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) also lifted restrictions.

A statement from Nats said: "The no-fly zone imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority tracking the high density area of the volcanic ash cloud has moved west overnight and has now cleared UK airspace."

Yesterday, travellers in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were left stranded by the cancellation of hundreds of services.

Passengers seemed uncertain as to which airports were operating flights, a problem highlighted by Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, who accused the CAA of releasing a "vague" statement on Tuesday night which suggested all Scottish airspace would be closed when Edinburgh and Aberdeen Airports were open for the first part of the day.

Mr Salmond said: "Unnecessarily, some flights were cancelled, particularly into Edinburgh, because of the vagueness of the press release they (the CAA) put out.

"That can't be allowed to happen again. It's really, really important, where there are difficult messages, that press statements must be clear and not cause confusion."

Mr Salmond added that the CAA had since apologised.

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines yesterday warned that the ash cloud could cause disruption for "the foreseeable future".

"The situation for UK airspace, particularly over the North and Scotland, remains unprecedented.

"Volcanic ash is a known hazard to aircraft and the previously accepted procedure adopted all over the world was to avoid ash completely.

"For the first time an ash cloud is affecting airspace where there is not the room to do this. So the CAA had to develop new safety procedures enabling flights to continue whilst flying close to or through the ash cloud.

"We were able to reopen the skies last month, having secured agreement from manufacturers on safe levels of ash tolerance.

"Scientists are tracking the cloud's movements constantly but its location changes frequently, depending on the strength of eruptions and prevailing winds.

"When the ash level exceeds that agreed as safe by the industry we have to restrict flights accordingly.

"This decision is not taken lightly and we appreciate the huge inconvenience and disruption this causes to the many people and businesses affected.

"Ash is likely to continue to disrupt UK air travel for the foreseeable future and our advice to passengers is to listen to updates and contact their airline before leaving home if they are concerned their travel plans may be affected.

"The CAA is continuing to lead international efforts to develop more detailed scientific understanding of the situation to minimise disruption without compromising passenger safety."

There was early-morning uncertainty at Dublin Airport yesterday with a number of passengers arriving for flights only to find there were no services.

And at Belfast International and Belfast City Airports, where the no-fly ban was not introduced until 1pm, some passengers failed to turn up, unaware that the airports were operating during the first part of the day.

One of those hit by the axing of services was Mabel McGeachie, 62, from East Kilbride, Scotland, who had her easyJet flight from Glasgow cancelled.

She had been due to travel to Malaga in Spain with 10 friends and relatives for her daughter's hen night and was told the next available flight was on Sunday - the day she was meant to return.

"We are feeling disappointed as we were looking forward to it and I don't think we'll be able to rearrange it. It was my daughter's hen do and her wedding is in July.

"We heard about the ash last night but just came down to the airport anyway."

Scottish football club Ross County had to scrap plans to fly from Glasgow to Marbella in southern Spain to train ahead of their Scottish FA Cup final against Dundee United on May 15.

The club's director of football, George Adams, was philosophical, saying: "We were looking forward to it but you get on with life.

"Lots of people have been disrupted with the volcanic ash and we're no different from anyone else."

Airline bmi said all its Heathrow services were now back to normal. There were some cancellations of Ireland flights to and from Heathrow.

Ryanair's flights to and from Shannon airport in Ireland were due to restart at 10am, with flights to and from Kerry airport restarting at 8.50am.

The low-fare carrier added that it would be putting on extra flights between the UK and Ireland this afternoon and evening.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine