Page last updated at 04:31 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 05:31 UK

Flight ban extended at Birmingham International Airport

Cancelled flights
Flight restrictions are extended until at least 0700 BST on Tuesday

Birmingham International Airport remains closed as the ban on flights in English airspace extends into Tuesday.

Volcanic ash drifting from Iceland prompted the UK-wide ban on Thursday. Planes will now remain grounded at Birmingham until 1300 BST.

Flights may be able to leave Scotland and part of northern England at the same time, officials said.

The travel chaos has led to the European Gymnastics Championships in Birmingham being delayed by 24 hours.

Air traffic control company Nats said airspace from Scotland south to a line between Teesside and Blackpool might open from 0900 BST but the threat from a new ash cloud was still being assessed.

"The volcano eruption in Iceland has strengthened and a new ash cloud is spreading south and east towards the UK," it said.

'Long and tiring'

A statement from British Gymnastics said despite travel delays some teams had arrived, with the rest expected to arrive later.

"It is expected that the majority of federations will make it to Birmingham by the start of the competition.

"Their journeys will have been long and tiring for those making their way to England via land and sea," the statement said.

One competitor said it had taken the Swiss team 19 hours to arrive in Birmingham while a Slovakian team member said his team had travelled by bus along with the Austrian team. The journey had taken 24 hours.

Meanwhile, some holidaymakers and travellers are still stranded.

We realise that this has been a difficult time for passengers and we would like to thank everyone for their patience
Birmingham International Airport

One family, waiting for their son to return home from Helsinki, Finland, said they were having to make the best of it.

Angela Handy, of Stechford, Birmingham, said her son was stranded in Helsinki, although his firm is taking care of his expenses.

"I think he is making the best of it, which everybody is having to do.

"There is nothing else you can do," she said.

Passengers hoping to travel were advised to contact their airline for details on their flights or check Birmingham airport's website.

In a statement on the website, the airport said: "We realise that this has been a difficult time for passengers and we would like to thank everyone for their patience."

On Friday, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) warned airlines would lose at least $200m (£130m) per day in revenues during the disruption.

Aircraft have been grounded because of the danger to engines from tiny particles of rock, glass and sand.



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