Volcanic Ash Crisis

First UK flights to start again

Flights will finally start again in the UK tomorrow after air traffic control company Nats lifted restrictions for Scotland and part of northern England.





After days without any flights above the UK due to volcanic ash, Nats said tonight that Scottish airspace would open at 7am tomorrow.



Airspace south to a line between Teesside and Blackpool will also be open, with the hope that restrictions over the rest of England and Wales will be lifted later tomorrow, Nats said.



But current restrictions for the UK would carry on until 7am tomorrow.



Nats said: "The volcanic eruption has reduced and the volcano is not currently emitting ash to altitudes that will affect the UK. Assuming there are no further significant ash emissions, we are now looking at a continuously improving situation.



"This is a dynamic and changing situation and is therefore difficult to forecast beyond 7am tomorrow.



"However, the latest Met Office advice is that the contaminated area will continue to move south, with the possibility that restrictions to airspace above England and Wales, including the London area, may be lifted later tomorrow.



"It is now for airports and airlines to decide how best to utilise this opportunity. Passengers should contact their airlines to find out how this will affect their travel plans."



The news will come as an enormous relief to cash-strapped airlines and the estimated 150,000 Britons stranded abroad by the flights ban.



Before the Nats announcement, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that two Royal Navy ships were to be used to help bring Britons home, with a third vessel also possibly being deployed.



The go-ahead for flights came as airlines pointed to successful test flights through closed airspace as a reason for lifting restrictions.





Airline Flybe said it would start operating services again from Aberdeen, Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Newcastle airports from 10.05am tomorrow.

The first flight will take off from Belfast City airport at 10.05 heading for Edinburgh.



The lessening of the impact of the volcano and the promise of a change in wind direction by the end of the week holds out the hope that the crisis can soon be resolved.



The cost to airlines and other affected industries is immense and British Airways said today that European carriers had asked the EU and national governments for financial compensation.



BA, which took a test flight through a successful run out across the Atlantic yesterday, said the flight restrictions had cost it between £15 million and £20 million a day.



While Mr Brown and Transport Secretary Lord Adonis outlined measures to get Britons home, holiday companies Thomson and First Choice said they were laying on coaches to repatriate around 5,000 stranded tourists in the Spanish resorts of Alicante and Malaga.



Thomas Cook also announced that it was flying holidaymakers from the Caribbean to Portugal and getting them home from there.



Mr Brown said HMS Ark Royal and HMS Ocean would be used to help stranded Britons. A third vessel, HMS Albion, which was on its way to Spain to pick up troops, "may be able to be of help", the Prime Minister said.



The International Air Transport Association was highly critical of the European response to the ash crisis which, it estimated, is costing the aviation industry around 200 million dollars (£130 million) a day.



Meanwhile, ferry companies and train operators have been enjoying a travel boom in the absence of any UK plane travel.



Channel Tunnel high-speed train company Eurostar said it was putting on extra trains every day this week.

News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
news
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
  • Get to the point
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: MI Developer

    £35 - 45k: Guru Careers: An MI Developer is needed to join the leading provide...

    Recruitment Genius: Fitness Manager

    £20000 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leisure organisation manag...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Manager

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Delivering an inspiring, engagi...

    Recruitment Genius: Learning Team Administrator

    £17500 - £20500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for a great te...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions