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Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 18:29 UK
Recriminations grow over airline costs



Map showing forecast of the spread of volcanic ash

European airlines will have flown about half of scheduled flights by the end of Tuesday, the Eurocontrol agency says.

Some flights have been departing from Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, on the sixth day of disruption caused by the spread of Icelandic volcanic ash.

But major flight restrictions remain in place across most of the UK, Ireland, Finland, Germany and Poland.

The eruption appears to be waning, but there have been reports of a new ash cloud heading towards mainland Europe.

Scientists say southern Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano is producing more lava, although the ash plume is now shrinking.

'Cries of joy'

Brussels-based Eurocontrol says some 14,000 of Europe's 27,500 daily flights were expected to fly on Tuesday.

EUROPEAN AIRSPACE
BELGIUM - Airspace open. Limited service
BRITAIN - Airspace open over Scotland and Northern Ireland. Limited airspace over north of England. London airports closed
DENMARK - Airspace above 16,600ft open. No landings
FRANCE - Limited flights from Paris to international destinations. Most airports open
GERMANY - Airspace staying shut to 0001 GMT Wednesday, apart from 800 low-altitude flights
IRELAND - Airspace closed
ITALY - Airspace open. Handful of flights resumed in and out of Milan
NETHERLANDS - Airspace open. Passenger flights arriving and departing in Amsterdam
NORWAY - Airspace reopened
POLAND - Airspace closed
SPAIN - Airspace open; all airports operating
SWEDEN - Airspace open over central-northern Sweden
SWITZERLAND - Airspace reopened

The Europe-wide air traffic agency said it was optimistic the situation would be back to normal in a few days' time.

It also said more than 95,000 flights had been cancelled since last Thursday, a day after the volcano erupted for the second time in a month.

Weary passengers cheered and clapped as flights took off from airports such as Paris and Amsterdam, where flights resumed late on Monday.

"Everyone was screaming in the airplane from happiness," one passenger who flew from the Dutch capital to New York told the news agency AP.

Norway's airport authority reopened all of the country's airspace on Tuesday afternoon until midnight.

Elsewhere in Scandinavia, airports in north-central Sweden were operating, Denmark's airspace was open to long-haul flights, but Finland's was shut.

Germany's DFS air safety agency said its flight ban would remain until 0001 GMT on Wednesday, although 800 flights would be allowed to fly visually at lower altitudes, reports news agency AFP.

The UK's air traffic control authority, Nats, said on Tuesday afternoon that much of Britain would remain a no-fly zone until at least 0100 on Wednesday.

Only airspace in most of Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of northern England will be open.

Nearly 300 British holiday-makers marooned in Santander, northern Spain, found a novel way to get home when they were picked up by a Royal Navy warship.


It's this shared experience of facing a common challenge that I'll remember - my faith in human kindness is renewed
Mark Bokenfohr
Canadian oil worker

Poland, which had reopened four airports on Monday, closed them again on Tuesday.

The Irish Aviation Authority said Shannon airport in the west was reopening, but the airports in Dublin and Cork remained shut.

Swiss and northern Italian airspace has also reopened. The Swiss authorities said test flights had shown the ash in the sky posed no threat to aircraft.

Flights have resumed out of Paris' Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, which are operating at about 30% capacity.

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ABC reporter Neal Karlinksy: "The explosions... are silent"

In Spain, where all airports are open, the government has offered to let Britain and other European countries use its airports as stopovers to get passengers moving.

Our correspondent in Madrid, Sarah Rainsford, says that British passengers have come from from as as South Africa and Israel.

Financial impact

But she says there is still no sign there of the coaches the UK government promised it would send to help get its stranded nationals home.

EXPERT ADVICE

In an effort to try to take control of the situation, EU transport ministers have created a core no-fly area, a limited-service zone and an open-skies area.

The EU Commissioner for Transport, Siim Kallas, has rejected criticism that the EU took too long to respond to the crisis.

Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Kallas said the matter was not "in the hands of arbitrary decisions", as the lives of people were at stake.

The airline industry says its losses have soared to over $1bn (£650m; 740m euros), since much of Europe's airspace was closed last week because of volcano ash.

The flight ban was imposed because in the high temperatures of an engine turbine, ash can turn to molten glass and cripple the engine.

In a sign of the impact of the crisis on Asia's export-driven economies, the Japanese car giant, Nissan, says it is suspending several production lines due to the shortage of parts from Ireland. Honda will also partly halt production.



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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Reuters UK European skies open - 3 hrs ago
Trade Arabia Air travel misery eases as Europe airports open - 4 hrs ago
Neftegaz.RU Chaos continues in European sky - 6 hrs ago
NDTV Some European flights take off; London still shut - 21 hrs ago
Daily Express Flight chaos remains across EU - 22 hrs ago


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