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Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 15:27 GMT
Transatlantic flights return to normal
UK airports say it will be business as normal
Transatlantic flights from the UK have returned to normal following disruption caused by the New York air crash.

Airports around the country say they have not suffered from knock-on delays but are advising passengers heading to the US to check with airlines before starting their journeys.

The main operators, including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and United Airlines say they have been running a full schedule and advising passengers to check in as normal.

Concorde landed at JFK moments after the crash
American Airlines cancelled its 1000GMT Heathrow to JFK on Tuesday and transferred passengers to a later flight, but otherwise is operating normally.

On Monday, some passengers suffered delays and disruption as a result of the American Airlines Airbus tragedy in Rockaway Beach.

Many flights are understood to have left the UK as normal on Monday night, although there were diversions because of the temporary closure of New York's airports.

A British Airways Concorde flight from Heathrow landed safely at John F Kennedy Airport moments after the incident but three other BA flights were diverted.

UK sympathy

Concorde's return journey had to be cancelled because delays in the US meant it would arrive back at Heathrow too late to avoid noise restrictions.

Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports said passengers due to travel to America on Tuesday did not have to check in any earlier than normal.

Tony Blair
Tony Blair rang George Bush to express condolences
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior UK officials have offered their sympathy to those affected by the disaster.

Mr Blair spent 25 minutes on the telephone to President George Bush to offer his condolences.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who was in New York attending a meeting of the UN General Assembly, said the crash was shocking but expressed relief that it appeared to be an accident, not the result of terrorism.

Mr Blair learned of the crash as he was having lunch with his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Downing Street.

'Brave people'

Speaking at the Lord Mayor's banquet the City of London's Guildhall, the prime minister offered condolences to the people of New York and the families of those killed.

"Our hearts go out to the brave people there who have been through so much and with such dignity and courage," he said.

Mr Straw said the disaster would re-open the wounds of the 11 September attacks.

He expressed relief that the tragedy did not appear to be the work of terrorists.

"Thank the Lord, as we think, it is not another terrorist outrage but it is just a terrible accident," he told BBC News 24.

Deep trauma

"That is no comfort for the immediate victims, nor for their family loved ones.

"But it is reassuring particularly for New Yorkers and those on this side of America who went through the deep trauma of the 11 September and I think were fearing they were going to go through another, but certainly worse trauma, again."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, also expressed his sorrow for those affected by the tragedy.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with them," he said.

Flight International's Paul Lewis
"There will be some more airline casualties"

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