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Volcanic Ash / Flight Delays - Updates

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos First Published: Tuesday, 20 April 2010. Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April 2010

 -NOTE: This page is no longer being updated. Instead see: Latest Volcanic Ash Disruption in May 2010 for those updates.

 The volcanic ash plume that has been blown over much of northern Europe from Iceland, has caused hardship to millions, if not billions, of people around the world.

 But now, with the airspace over Europe open, and most airlines already on their normal schedules, stranded travellers are beginning to return home. It should be noted however that "normal schedules"  does not mean all passengers are where they should be, it just means that the airline is operating flights to its regular schedule.

There is a lot of backlog, and nearly every airline flying to, and from, Europe is affected to some degree. Qantas Chief Executive Officer, Mr Alan Joyce, said last week, "We estimate it will take approximately two to three weeks to clear the current backlog."

With this in mind, and as before, airline passengers are strongly advised to ensure that their airline has all your latest contact details and that you follow the airline's website for the most up to date information regarding your flight. Some (but not all) airlines are still suggesting that travellers do not even make their way to the airport until they know for sure they have a confirmed seat and the plane is confirmed for take off.

Most airlines are also encouraging passengers that can, to cancel or delay their trip to, or from, Europe for the time being. Refunds are being offered by most airlines, but you will need to check with your airline exactly what the terms and conditions are for modifying, re-routing or simply refunding your ticket.

If you have special dietary requirements may we also suggest that you check with your airline on the status of that, and perhaps as a precaution, take your own food, especially on long haul flights.

This page does not refresh automatically - you will need to manually refresh the page to see the latest updates which appear at the top.

Volcanic Ash / Flight Delays - Updates

- During the period 16-23 April 2010, Thai Airways International reported that there were 115 flight cancellations, 59 outbound and 56 inbound. Throughout 18-28 April 2010, THAI flew 8,656 stranded passengers to their destinations, of which 6,216 passengers were flown on the 28 supplementary flights while 2,440 flew on regular scheduled flights. Of the 28 supplementary flights, 13 were outbound and 15 were inbound. Thai did not provide its customers with accommodation, instead it arranged what it calls "resting areas". The airline has now resumed its normal schedule.

- In addition to deploying extra services on a number of routes, Emirates is maximising its fleet and getting thousands more passengers to their required destination by adding an extra stop on suitable routes. Between 26 - 29 April inclusive, Emirates flight EK347 from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai will be re-routed via Bangkok, picking up passengers and easing the operational backlog in the Thai capital.

- Cathay Pacific has resumed its regular schedule for all flights to Europe. Online check-in is now also available for all flights, and customers departing to Europe are advised to arrive at the airport 3 hours before departure.

- In a further sign that business is returning to normal, Emirates has confirmed that it will resume its online check-in service from 08:00 GMT on Monday, 26 April 2010.

- Finnair's traffic has now returned to normal schedule. There are however, still "some hundreds" (as the airline describes them) of Finnair passengers stuck in Asia, but most of them are expected to return to Europe in the beginning of next week.

- bmi has returned to its normal flight schedule, and to celebrate, the airline has launched a promotion with fares starting from 18.50 one way including tax on all UK and Ireland flights, in and out of London Heathrow. Destinations include Aberdeen, Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and London.

- Since European airspace closed on 16 April 2010, Air France cancelled 7 flights between Saint-Denis de La Runion and Paris-Orly. Now to assist those remaining passengers, Air France will be operating its fourth additional flight on departure from Saint-Denis de la Runion to Paris on 24 April. The airline expects normal service to resume on Monday 26 April. The airline will also be operating extra flights from Mauritius and Bangkok on Saturday, 24 April.

- To accommodate stranded passengers, Thai Airways International will operate four extra return flights to and from Europe this weekend:

TG9169 - Bangkok  - London - Saturday, 24 April, 10:00
TG9179 - London - Bangkok - Saturday, 24 April, 18:05
TG9609 - Bangkok - Stockholm - Saturday, 24 April, 14:30
TG9619 - Stockholm  - Bangkok - Saturday, 24 April, 22:00
TG9309 - Bangkok - Paris - Sunday, 25 April, 14:30
TG9319 - Paris - Bangkok - Sunday, 25 April, 22:40
TG9509 - Bangkok - Copenhagen - Sunday, 25 April, 14:25
TG9519 - Copenhagen - Bangkok- Sunday, 25 April, 22:00

 Customers are advised not to go to the airport to wait for a departing flight without listing first as no pre-booking is allowed. Contact the airline to list yourself on one of the flights.

- On Sunday, 25 April, Air New Zealand will operate an additional service from Auckland to London via Hong Kong (this is in addition to the scheduled service NZ2 which is also operating on that day). Seats on existing scheduled services to and from the UK are expected to be open again for general sale from the end of next week (previously first available seats were from 8 May).

- On Saturday, Qantas will operate the following extra flight: QF172 Frankfurt to Sydney via Singapore scheduled to depart at 1500 local time.

- NATS advises that all UK airspace is available and that according to the latest Met Office information, the volcanic ash cloud appears to be moving north.

- Ryanair has confirmed that all its flights are now operating on schedule and that it will be operating three extra flights from Lanzarote to Dublin, Las Palmas to Stansted and Alicante to Birmingham on Saturday, 24 April.

- Eurocontrol has confirmed that traffic across Europe is back to normal levels, as almost all European airspace is available and restrictions lifted.

- Finnair has said it had to cancel over 1,700 flights in the last week, disrupting the travel of over 140,000 passengers. The cessation of traffic for the week, and the process of recommencing it, are estimated to have caused a loss of 20 million euros to the company. The losses include the costs of stranded passengers' accommodation as from yesterday (Thursday). However, Finnair says it opposes compensation of losses to airlines by European Union commission-approved subsidies. See: Finnair Suffers Loss of 20 million Euros but Opposes State Support for Airlines.

- SAS is adding two extra flights to Bangkok this weekend to get the last remaining stranded customers home. SAS will operate the flights with one additional aircraft to its long-haul fleet. Approximately 350 customers are still stranded in Bangkok due to the closure of European airspaces.

- Singapore Airlines is mounting additional flights over the coming days to help clear the backlog of customers affected by the recent closure of European airspace. See: Singapore Airlines to Operate Additional Flights to / from Europe.

- Etihad Airways has recommenced its full scheduled operations. Transit passengers remaining in Abu Dhabi are all expected to fly out within 48 hours. Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said, We are also working hard to ensure people travelling from our outstations, who have been waiting for the situation in the UK, Ireland and Europe to stabilise, are accommodated on new services as a matter of urgency.

- EgyptAir says it has resumed its normal operating schedule to and from European cities.

- Jet Airways has confirmed it will operate additional flights from Mumbai to Bangkok, Kathmandu and London respectively to enable the movement of stranded passengers from these cities to London via Mumbai.

- On Thursday, Finnair's long-haul flights from Asia have arrived or will arrive in Helsinki. In addition, long-haul flights and some European flights are departing from Helsinki. In total, Finnair has operated or will operate around 60 one-way flights and will transport around 7,500 passengers today. Finnair's SVP Operations Erno Hildn, said, "After this exceptional week-long situation, we are finally able to resume our flight traffic gradually. Today we will be able to operate around 30% of the European scheduled traffic programme and almost all of our long-haul flights. We are planning to return to the normal timetable for all flight traffic during this week."

- KLM will today (22 April) operate its entire intercontinental schedule and almost all of its European services. In addition, the airline will operate extra flights. KLM President & CEO Peter Hartman, said,  "We are doing whatever we can. Together with our partners Delta Airlines and Kenya Airways we are working flat-out to get our passengers and cargo to their destinations as quickly as possible." Delta Airlines will take on three KLM flights (New York JFK and Atlanta ATL), freeing up capacity for KLM. KLM's partner Kenya Airways, will deploy a larger aircraft type on the Nairobi-Amsterdam route. Extra capacity will also be deployed on the routes to Curacao, Paramaribo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Osaka, Lima, Sao Paulo, San Francisco and Cairo.

- Following on from the previous Finnair update below, the airline has now said it is hoping to fly in Europe today to London, Paris, Dsseldorf, Amsterdam, Brussels, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Oslo, Hamburg, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Rome, Warsaw, Budapest, Zrich and Vienna.

- Air Canada is planning to operate a full schedule of 40 flights today (22 April) to/from Canadian cities and the following destinations in Europe: London, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Geneva, Rome, as well as Tel Aviv. The airline has advised that flights are full, and while it has deployed additional flights and larger aircraft to get passengers to their destination as quickly as possible, it is expected that it will take several days to accommodate all customers.

- Thai Airways International has said it has now resumed operating all its regularly scheduled flights to and from Europe. The airlines said it is still gathering figures of stranded passengers at each airport in determining where extra flights will now operate. In the meantime,  the national carrier is looking at reshuffling certain aircraft types for transporting its passengers still waiting to return to their home country, whether to Thailand or to European countries, "at the earliest possible opportunity".

- To help stranded travellers stay in touch, Skype has made Skype Access, its one-click WiFi access feature, available for free at over 100,000 hotspots worldwide until the end of Friday, 23 April.

- Finnair's long-haul flights from Osaka, Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo are due to arrive in Finland today. The airline has cancelled its European and domestic flights until 15:00 today (22 April) but said its long-haul flights departing from Finland "will probably fly today to some extent behind schedule". Finnair's President & CEO Mika Vehvilinen, said, "Unfortunately the situation will not be resolved immediately after traffic resumes, because by a ruling of the Court of Appeal we have to take on to flights first and foremost those who have valid tickets for the flights in question. Only after that can we fill aircraft with passengers who have had to wait."

- Better late than never. This morning (Thursday, 22 April) Thai Airways International announced that on Wednesday (21 April) it had opened a temporary help center. The center they have named "the THAI Volcanic Help Center" will be open until 30 April 2010 between 08:00 and 17:00. The number to call is +66 2545-3000 if you are outside Thailand and 02 545 3000 if you are inside Thailand. The number is designed, the airline says, specifically for passengers whose flights have been cancelled.

- Controversy brewing. Speaking on Wednesday, Ryanairs Michael OLeary said, "... while we will consider all passenger requests for reimbursement of reasonable receipted expenses over the past week, any such reimbursement will be limited - as it is in the case of rail, coach and ferry passengers - to the original air fare paid by each passenger." Currently, EU passenger compensation rules dictate that EU-based airlines are required to provide accommodation and other benefits for those prevented from flying.

- Thai Airways International has said it will waive all fees for changing flight route or issuance of a new ticket to and from Europe to Thailand for stranded THAI ticket holders. Passengers are advised that the listing of passengers for travel is based on reservation sequence.

- Finnair has cancelled all departing and arriving domestic and European scheduled flights until Thursday 12 p.m., warning that they may also need to be cancelled in the afternoon. The airline said it would still try to operate its long-haul flights.

- SAS Scandinavian Airlines has said it expects to operate close to 75% of full scheduled flight program on Thursday, 22 April. All SAS hubs across Scandinavia will be reopened on Thursday, as will almost all European airports. SAS expects full operations by to commence on Friday, 23 April 2010.

- Qatar Airways flights to the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Scandinavia and Switzerland are expected to be back to a full operating schedule from Thursday, 22 April. Services resuming to and from the airlines Doha hub are London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Geneva and Zurich. Qatar Airways cancelled more than 135 flights to and from Europe over the past five days.

- Qantas will recommence normal scheduled services between Australia and Europe via Asia today, Thursday, 22 April. Qantas Chief Executive Officer, Mr Alan Joyce, said, "We are working on providing supplementary services to help clear the backlog and we will let our customers know as soon as possible ... We estimate it will take approximately two to three weeks to clear the current backlog."

- Air New Zealand has said its services between Auckland and London are now operating to schedule.

- The UK's NATS said that it is expecting a volume of traffic approaching 90% from approximately 07:00 on Thursday, 22 April. This is up from around 80% on Wednesday.

- Eurocontrol is saying that almost 100% of the normal air traffic volume will take place in Europe on Thursday, 22 April.

- Lufthansa has said it expects to resume normal flight operations on Thursday, 22 April.

- Kingfisher Airlines has said it will commence flights to and from London Heathrow from Thursday, 22 April 2010. The flights will operate as per the normal scheduled time. Those guests who dont have a confirmed reservation for that particular day are requested not to proceed to the airport. To confirm a reservation, guests are requested to contact their nearest Kingfisher Airlines call centre or the travel agent, whoever issued their ticket, to discuss options.

- We have received reports that BAA has introduced a restriction at Londons Heathrow Airport whereby all passengers MUST have a valid ticket for travel otherwise they will NOT be permitted to enter the airport terminal buildings. This restriction will be in place for at least the next 72 hours.

- Jet Airways is to resume full flight operations to and from Mumbai and Delhi to London Heathrow. The airline will also resume its flights to and from the United States and Canada via its hub in Brussels with immediate effect. The airline will also mount an additional flight to/from London from Mumbai, to assist stranded passengers in both cities.

- KLM has said it expects to resume operating all its intercontinental flights to and from Schiphol today. Several restrictions still apply to the flight schedule for Europe with a number of airports still closed and flights restricted to daytime hours at others. The airline is aiming to operate around 70% of its scheduled flights within Europe. From 14:00 hours (CEST), KLM will operate a number of its previously cancelled flights to the United Kingdom and several Scandinavian destinations as well. Only 75 passengers of the original group of KLM passengers stranded at Schiphol since Thursday, 15 April now remain. An extra flight will also be operated today to Curaao and Bonaire.

- Cathay Pacific has said it has two aircraft stranded in London and Frankfurt by the volcanic ash crisis. The airline is planning to operate them as additional flights from those cities today (21 April) European local time, at times to be advised.

- Singapore Airlines has confirmed that it is returning to a full European flight schedule with immediate effect. The airline states that customers already booked on scheduled flights to and from Europe will now be able to travel as planned. SIA estimates the revenue opportunity loss from flight cancellations and disruptions at $40 million, comprising $10 million from cargo operations and $30 million from passenger operations, without taking into account variable cost savings. See: Singapore Airlines Returns to Full European Schedule.

- Air Canada currently plans to operate the following scheduled flights on Wednesday, 21 April:

Toronto-London AC856
Toronto-London AC848
Toronto-London AC858
Montreal-London AC864
Halifax-London AC860
Ottawa-London AC888
Edmonton-London AC898
Calgary-London AC850
Vancouver-London AC854
London-Vancouver AC855
London-Calgary AC851
London-Edmonton AC2099
London-Ottawa AC2189
London-Montreal AC2165
London-Toronto AC859
Calgary-Frankfurt AC844
Ottawa-Frankfurt AC838
Montreal-Frankfurt AC874
Toronto-Frankfurt AC872
Toronto-Frankfurt AC876
Toronto-Munich AC846
Montreal-Paris AC870
Toronto-Paris AC880
Paris-Montreal AC871
Paris-Toronto AC881
Toronto/Montreal-Geneva AC830
Toronto-Zurich AC2078
Rome-Toronto AC891
Toronto-Tel Aviv AC84
Tel Aviv-Toronto AC85

- Cathay Pacific says it has scheduled seven flights to London, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam which had been delayed on a rolling basis from 15 and 16 April. However, four of the normally scheduled flights to Europe have been cancelled with plans that the normal service for these flights will resume on Thursday. The normally scheduled flights to Paris and Rome will operate on time.

- Just to show how fluid this whole situation is, and how easily it can change. Finnair has now said they have had to cancel all departing and arriving domestic and European scheduled flights on Wednesday due to the ash cloud spreading from the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Finnair's departing longhaul flights are also cancelled. The airline did suggest it might still be possible to operate flight AY005 to New York later today but this has not yet been fully confirmed. Finnairs scheduled flights from Bangkok, New York, Delhi and Seoul will are expected to arrive in Finland today. In addition, Finnair will fly around 1,500 Aurinkomatkat-Suntours passengers to Finland from Spain and Turkey.

- SAS Scandinavian Airlines has confirmed it will operate flights to a number of Scandinavian and European destinations today, 21 April 2010, from both Copenhagen and Oslo, as both airports are now open. Stockholm airport remains closed until this afternoon.

- Finnair is again arranging alternative transportation between Helsinki and Berlin for its passengers still in Finland and Europe. For passengers still in Finland, there will be bus and ship transportation arranged from Helsinki to Berlin via Tallinn. A ship will leave Helsinki for Tallinn at 21.30. The bus will arrive to Berlin on Friday morning. For Finnish passengers still in Europe, there will be a bus leaving from Berlin for Tallinn on Friday, 23 April 2010 at 2 p.m. The trip will continue by ship which leaves from Tallinn to Finland on Saturday, 24 April at 9 p.m. to arrive in Helsinki at 11 p.m. Customers must make their own travel arrangements to and from Helsinki and Berlin. Customers who wish use this service should call +358 800 922 42.

- Finnair has confirmed that it will operate some flights to Finland today while the airspace is open. If airspace in Finland remains open, the airline will operate flights from New York and Bangkok to Finland and also bring Aurinkomatkat-Suntours' customers from Spain and Turkey back to Finland. Flights transporting Aurinkomatkat-Suntours' customers arrive today from Jerez, Malaga and Las Palmas, Spain and Antalya, Turkey. Altogether approximately 1,500 package tour travelers can be transported back to Finland today (21 April).

- IATA today estimated that the Icelandic volcano crisis cost airlines more than $1.7 billion in lost revenue through Tuesday (20 April 2010) - six days after the initial eruption. For a three-day period (17-19 April), when disruptions were greatest, lost revenues reached $400 million per day. Lost revenues now total more than $1.7 billion for airlines alone. At the worst, the crisis impacted 29% of global aviation and affected 1.2 million passengers a day. The scale of the crisis eclipsed 9/11 when US airspace was closed for three days, said Giovanni Bisignani, IATAs Director General and CEO. See: Volcanic Ash Crisis Cost Airlines $1.7 Billion.

- Etihad Airways has recommenced its scheduled services to London, Paris, Brussels, and Geneva, and says it will continue to do so, subject to the airports remaining open. Customers can contact the airline on the following numbers: in Bangkok +66 2 253 0099, in the UAE 800 550 55 (toll free), in the UK 0800 917 7521 (toll free); and customers in other overseas locations can contact their local office, travel agent or call +971 25 990 900

- Singapore Airlines has confirmed more flights to Europe for 21 and 22 April 2010. See: Singapore Airlines Updates Europe Flight Schedule.

- The Singapore-based Rendezvous Hospitality Group has pledged not to charge stranded guests an additional rate for last-minute bookings at its Rendezvous and The Marque Hotels. These guests, the company says, will be able to continue their stay at the same rate as their initial booking. Those guests booked on prepaid packages will be able to continue to stay at the same rate at their RHG hotel.

- AirAsia X will today (Wednesday, 21 April 2010) resume services from Kuala Lumpur to London (Stansted). What the airline is calling a rescue flight will depart KL at 2pm Malaysian time to help clear the backlog of stranded passengers. This will be followed by the normal scheduled flight at 3.35pm, said AirAsia general manager Australia, Darren Wright. An additional rescue flight from Kuala Lumpur -Stansted will operate tomorrow (April 22) departing at 3pm KL time.

- Qantas has confirmed it will resume flights to Europe from today. The following flights will operate on Wednesday 21 April:

From London to Australia
QF8232 London to Sydney via Singapore scheduled to depart at 1205 local time
QF8230 London to Melbourne via Hong Kong scheduled to depart at 1220 local time
From Asia to London/Frankfurt
QF8205 Singapore to Frankfurt scheduled to depart at 2320 local time
QF8209 Singapore to London scheduled to depart at 2305 local time
QF8201 Bangkok to London scheduled to depart at 2320 local time
QF8231 Singapore to London scheduled to depart at 2359 local time
QF8229 Hong Kong to London scheduled to depart at 0735 local on Thursday 22 April.

On Thursday 22 April Qantas will recommence normal scheduled services from Australia to Europe. Customers booked on the following flights are confirmed for travel:

Thursday 22 April
QF9 Melbourne to London scheduled to depart at 1530 local time
QF5 Sydney to Frankfurt scheduled to depart at 1550 local time
QF31 Sydney to London scheduled to depart at 1615 local time
QF1 Sydney to London scheduled to depart at 1700 local time
QF29 Melbourne to London scheduled to depart at 2300 local time

- Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, has said that bookings for passengers currently in transit will be priority for the airline as services are reintroduced, and Etihad staff will be communicating directly with those that are in accommodation in Abu Dhabi and other cities to advise them of their updated travel plans, once available. Our focus throughout this week has been on ensuring our guests are safe and comfortable during this challenging time. We will continue to ensure they are well looked after until services recommence and they arrive at their destination, Mr Hogan said.

- Virgin Atlantic has said it plans to operate its normal flying schedule, in and out of London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester on Wednesday, 21 April 2010. Passengers with tickets are advised to contact the airline. The flights Virgin will operate are already full and it has confirmed that it will not be accepting any stand by passengers. Check in for these flights will close 2 hours before their scheduled departure times. Because of the short lead-in time, passengers with special dietary needs are being told to to make their own arrangements prior to boarding the flight.

- Lufthansa has said that on Wednesday it will operate all its scheduled long-haul flights as well as selected domestic and intra-European flights.

 - Celebrity Eclipse is scheduled to arrive in Bilbao, Spain, in the early hours of Thursday, 22 April 2010. Stranded travelers will join the ship throughout Thursday morning before the ship returns to Southampton, arriving late Friday evening. This sailing will replace the activities planned during the two-night, round-trip launch celebration cruise from Southampton. See: Celebrity Eclipse Swaps Launch Celebrations to Help Stranded Travellers.

- Air France has said that on Tuesday, 20 April 2010, it operated 95% of its long-haul schedule and 25% of medium-haul flights. For Wednesday, 21 April, the airline is planning to operate 100% of its long-haul schedule, nearly all medium-haul flights, with the exception of flights to northern and northeastern Europe, where the airspace remains closed, and more than half of domestic flights (France) and 100% of flights between Paris and Corsica. Upon arrival of long-haul flights to Paris, all connections are expected to operate, with the exception of those to northern and northeastern Europe.

- Japan Airlines has said it plans to resume all scheduled flight operations between Tokyo (Narita) and Europe from 21 April 2010, as airspace and airports in those regions begin to reopen. JAL is preparing to operate roundtrip flights from Tokyo to Londonσ, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and Milan tomorrow, according to its original flight schedule. Additionally, JAL will also be operating 2 extra flights, 1 each from Milan and Rome to Tokyo.

 - British Airways praised the decision to reopen UK airspace, but warned that as the airline has many aircraft and crew out of position, it will still take some considerable time before it can restore its full flying programme. BA said it is looking to operate all longhaul flights departing from Heathrow and Gatwick on Wednesday 21 April 2010, but did warn that there will be shorthaul cancellations to and from London airports until 13:00 (UK time) on Wednesday 21 April, "and possibly beyond that time".

- Air New Zealand is planning to operate in the next 24 hours or so, a total of seven services to and from London, which will begin to clear the backlog of passengers. Priority for booking passengers on available seats is being undertaken in the order of those who were stranded in Hong Kong and Los Angeles enroute to London on Thursday night, followed by customers with existing bookings on scheduled services and then passengers in a chronological order from their original point of delay. Pending no further closure of airspace ANZ expects its normal scheduled services to recommence on Thursday.

- On Tuesday, Qatar Airways operated flights to the United Kingdom and France as part of its efforts to repatriate passengers stranded in Doha back to both countries. Two wide-body aircraft originally scheduled to operate flights from Doha to London Heathrow and Manchester respectively, flew to the Scottish city of Edinburgh. Another aircraft, originally scheduled for Paris, was re-routed to the French provincial city of Lyon. All three flights carried a full load of transit and ex-Doha departing passengers to the UK and France. See: Qatar Airways Operates Flights to France and UK.

- On Tuesday, and in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute in Mainz, Lufthansa carried out a measuring flight in order to obtain clear evidence about the concentration of volcanic ash in the airspace over Europe. The flight was conducted by a specially equipped Airbus A340-600 with the CARIBIC climate research container on board, took off from Frankfurt Airport and spent several hours in-flight collecting measuring data across Europe. See: Lufthansa and Max Planck Institute Conduct Special Test Flight.

- Following the re-opening of airspace across the UK and Europe, easyJet has said it plans to resume some services across the UK and Continental Europe from Wednesday morning. Due to the extent of the disruption, the airline did warn that it will take several days to resume normal operations and delays are likely.

- Most restrictions on UK airspace began to be lifted at 21:34 (UK time) on 20 April 2010 evening. Air traffic control services have resumed in the UK with the exception of an area over the north west of Scotland which continues to be affected by a dense concentration of volcanic ash. "It is imperative that passengers check the status of their flight before travelling to the airport. Not all flights will operate during any temporary opening, and the situation is likely to change at short notice," said Nick Cullen, BAA's chief operating officer at Heathrow Airport. "We appreciate the patience shown by the travelling public through these unprecedented times and look forward to welcoming them back to Heathrow."

- On Tuesday, Ryanair confirmed that it continues to operate Southbound flights from Spain, Southern Italy, Malta and Morocco as scheduled. From Wednesday, 21 April, the airline also expects to resume Southbound flights from its Marseille base in the South of France as well. The airline did however extend its cancellation of its Northern European flights (UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Poland, Baltic States and North Italy) from 13:00 on Wednesday, 21 April to 13:00 on Thursday 22 April. In addition, Ryanair has decided to cancel all of its flights between Ireland and the UK until 13:00 on Friday 23 April in order to use these UK and Irish based aircraft to operate extra flights from the UK to Continental Europe; and from Ireland to Continental Europe from 13:00 on Thursday 22 April to clear any backlog of disrupted passengers travelling between Continental Europe, the UK and Ireland.

- On Tuesday evening, Eurocontrol reported that the upper airspace above 20,000 feet in all European airspace is available with the exception of Finland which is closed at all levels. Almost 75% of the total continent area is free of any restrictions. This area includes: Austria, the Balkan area, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, southern France, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, northern Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine.

- Thus far, Finnair has had to cancel approximately 1,300 flights affecting over 120,000 passengers. Over 20,000 Finnair passengers have not yet been able to return home. "We are continually prepared to start our operations again. We are waiting for the authorities' decisions about the development of the situation," said Erno Hildn, Finnair's SVP Operations.

- Singapore Airlines has confirmed that from this evening (20 April 2010) it will reinstate select flights to and from Europe. See: Singapore Airlines to Reinstate Flights to / from Europe.

 - Thai Airways International has confirmed that it will tonight resume regularly scheduled daily flights between Bangkok and Zurich. The flight leaves Bangkok at 00:30, arriving in Zurich at 07:35 (local time). The return flight departs from Zurich at 11:30 (local time) and arrives in Bangkok at 05:30. Additional THAI flights have also been arranged between Bangkok and Rome, as well as Bangkok - Madrid.

- Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service that links the UK and mainland Europe, has confirmed that between Tuesday 20 and Sunday 25 April inclusive, all 30,000 of the available standard class seats on its trains will cost 89 one-way. Eurostar is also organising extra trains. Between Monday and Sunday this week, Eurostar will run at least 28 additional trains. Over the next seven days, nearly four hundred trains will run between the UK and the continent.

Passengers who are Thai nationals in the United Kingdom needing to travel on a THAI flight via any of these EU countries to Thailand should contact the THAI Sales Office in the U.K. which, the airline says, will assist in coordinating with the Embassy to issue a travel visa through the necessary EU countries.

- Cathay Pacific's Director Service Delivery, Mr. Ivan Chu said at a press briefing today, "As and when services resume, all airlines around the world will be competing for landing slots at airports, and airspace and airports are going to be horribly congested ... The backlog is going to take time to clear. We are appealing to passengers who have reservations on our flights to Europe for non-essential travel to give them up to free up seats." See: Cathay Pacific Outlines Recovery Plan.

- Finnair has arranged another bus and ship service from Berlin via Tallinn to Helsinki. The bus will leave from Berlin for Tallinn at 14:00 local time on Thursday, 22 April 2010. The ship will arrive in Helsinki at 23:00 on Friday, 23 April 2010. Finnair passengers must make their own way to Berlin. Those that wish to use the Berlin-Tallinn-Helsinki travel arrangement should call +358 800 92242.

- Ryanair has said it will operate additional flights on Wednesday, 21 and Thursday, 22 April 2010 from Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife to Madrid. Onward travel from Madrid will be at each passengers own expense. Ryanairs Stephen McNamara said, Any disrupted Ryanair passenger on the Canary Islands now has the choice to fly to Madrid so that they may continue their return journeys by road, rail or ferry. Ryanair passengers who have suffered disruptions due to the recent volcanic ash airspace closures can now transfer to these extra flights on Wednesday and Thursday free of charge, subject to availability. A limited number of seats will also be available for just 100 for all other disrupted passengers who need to get from the Canary Islands to the Spanish mainland.

- Foreign travellers stranded in the UK because of the volcanic ash cloud will be given free entry to select National Trust properties while they are in the country. The stranded travellers simply have to arrive at a National Trust property with a flight ticket from the affected period together with their passport. Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust, said, British travellers stranded overseas have been shown tremendous hospitality by their hosts ... This offer is a way of reciprocating that kindness and saying thank you on behalf of the country.

- Lufthansa has said it aims to operate all its long-haul flights today (20 April 2010) as well as some intra-European and domestic flights. The airline plans to expand its flight plan gradually during the day.

- Commenting on the situation, Mr. Andrew Herdman, Director General of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) said, With flights to and from Europe accounting for around 15% of total passenger revenues for major Asia Pacific carriers, lost revenues as a result of flight cancellations are estimated at US$40 million per day. Asian airlines are also major players in the air freight industry, carrying 40% of global air cargo traffic. The recent disruption has severely impacted the normal flow of 10,000 tonnes a day of high value, time-sensitive, and perishable goods between Asia and Europe. These factors come as another blow to Asia Pacific carriers, who are only just starting to recover from the severe impact of global recession over the past two years.

- Today (20 April 2010), Japan Airlines will operate its roundtrip flights between Tokyo and Rome as per schedule. In addition, the airline has also confirmed it will operate an extra flight from Tokyo (Narita) to Rome with a Boeing 747-400 to assist passengers returning to Europe.

- France is progressively opening its airspace. As a result, Air France expects to operate today (20 April) a normal service for long-haul flights departing Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Long-haul flights departing from the airlines main airports on 19 April will arrive at Paris-Charles de Gaulle on 20 April. Flight arrival times may change slightly. Connecting flights at Paris will be suspended, except those destined for the south of France. For short and medium-haul flights:

Departing Paris-Orly: only the La Navette flights (Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice and Toulouse) and flights connecting Paris to Corsica will operate as usual;

Departing Paris-Charles de Gaulle: only domestic flights (France) will operate as usual. Flights to European destinations will resume at midday.

- NATS in the UK has said that part of Scottish airspace including Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh airports will continue to be available from 1300-1900 today (20 April 2010), and also south to Newcastle Airport. Restrictions will remain in place over the rest of UK airspace below 20,000ft. Overnight the CAA, in line with new guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) decided flights above the ash cloud will be permitted in the UK; between 1300-1900 this will enable aircraft movements above 20,000ft in UK airspace.

- All Qantas flights from Asia to Europe have been cancelled as follows:

Wednesday 21 April
- QF5 Singapore to Frankfurt cancelled
- QF9 Singapore to London Heathrow cancelled
- QF31 Singapore to London Heathrow cancelled

Thursday 22 April
- QF1 Bangkok to London Heathrow cancelled
- QF29 Hong Kong to London Heathrow cancelled

On Thursday 22 April, QF5 Sydney to Singapore will be cancelled, however all passengers will be accommodated on the scheduled return QF31 Sydney to Singapore service. QF32 Singapore to Sydney has also been cancelled, however all passengers will be accommodated on the scheduled QF6 Singapore to Sydney service.

Qantas inbound services from London Heathrow and Frankfurt are cancelled as follows:

Wednesday 21 April
- QF32 London to Singapore cancelled
- QF30 London to Hong Kong cancelled
- QF10 London to Singapore cancelled
- QF2 London to Bangkok cancelled
- QF6 Frankfurt to Singapore cancelled

Thursday 22 April
- QF32 London Heathrow to Singapore cancelled
- QF6 Frankfurt to Singapore cancelled

- AirAsia has launched a special promotional fare of just RM99 to any ASEAN destinations (excluding taxes and fees), for all stranded travellers who are holding flight tickets to Europe (on any airline). The promotion starts today, 20 April 2010 and runs until 25 April 2010, for travel between 20 April and 23 May 2010. See: AirAsia launches Stranded Travellers Promotion

- According to STR Global, RevPAR at select European airport hotels grew in double-digit figures for the week 11 to 17 April 2010 compared with the same week last year, which included the Easter holidays (10 to 13 April 2009). Gatwick grew 40%, Amsterdam Schiphol 69%, Heathrow 70%, Stockholm Arlanda 75%, Brussels Airport and its surroundings were up 137% while Frankfurt Rhein-Main Airport was up a staggering 369%. See: Airport Hotel Performance in Europe Skyrockets

- Approximately 40,000 Hogg Robinson Group clients were originally stranded leading to over 300 HRG staff volunteering to work longer hours and over the weekend, taking around 25,000 calls, through HRGs 24 hour and emergency call lines. David Radcliffe, Chief Executive of HRG said, The priority for most clients at the moment is to repatriate their travellers and, as a result, some are introducing temporary bans for any journey that has not already commenced. To help them achieve this, we have been arranging ground transportation services across Europe and routing clients into southern Europe on flights from/to intercontinental airports. If appropriate and available, we have chartered aircraft to meet client needs. Where repatriation has not been possible, HRG has not only secured and extended hotel rooms for clients whose travellers are having an enforced extended stay, but we have also guaranteed payment on behalf of stranded clients where credit card values and ceilings have been exceeded.

- Virtually all British Airways flights have been grounded since 11.00 on Thursday 15 April 2010. British Airways estimates that the lost passenger and freight revenue together with the costs incurred on supporting passengers is approximately 15-20 million a day. At the start of the flying restrictions on 14 April 2010 BA had more than 1.7 billion of cash and more than 400 million available credit lines which it said it can draw on if necessary. The airline has more than 80 aircraft and almost 3,000 cabin crew and pilots out of position overseas across our global network.

- China Airlines has said it will resume Taipei - Delhi - Rome services today, 20 April 2010. The return flight will depart at 22:40 on 20 April from Rome, accommodating 36 business and 277 economy passengers. CAL said it is also ready for the situation when Frankfurt airport is reopened and over flight permit is granted, two grounded aircrafts will take off carrying 60 business and 492 economy passengers back to Taipei. To evacuate the stranded passenger from Europe, these two extra flights will not accept any new booking. Stranded passenger whose flights had been cancelled resulted from volcanic outbreak will need to call any CAL European branch office or register in CAL website, with the name, phone number, original reservation, class service, and nearest airport. CAL staff will contact them if the flight schedule is confirmed and seat is available.

- Airbus has taken advantage of its scheduled development test flights to assess the impact on the aircraft and its flight systems within the volcanic ash on aircraft over Europe. Airbus A380 MSN 4, powered with four EA engines, and A340-600 MSN 360, fitted with Rolls Royce engines, took off on Monday at 14.25 and 14.50 respectively from Toulouse airport. During the flights, Airbus' experimental flight test crew observed the aircraft and engine behaviours in the ash cloud and a thorough post flight aircraft and engine inspection was performed after landing. The A380 flew within French airspace and the A340-600 in French and German airspace as per normal procedures.

- While public safety must be paramount, decisions must not be made lightly as they can have serious impact on the US$5,751 billion travel and tourism economy, said WTTC President & CEO Jean-Claude Baumgarten. Although it represents 9.2% of world GDP and employs 235 million people worldwide, its influence on nearly every facet of our lives is rarely appreciated by governments until a crisis occurs. A co-ordinated approach to assessing the situation and implementing recovery measures is crucial for the sake of travellers and business alike. See: WTTC Calls for Governments to Intervene

- Cathay Pacific cancelled all flights to and from London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and Milan departing on 17, 18, 19 and 20 April. Some flights on 21 April have also been cancelled and more may have to be. CX flights to Rome remain normal at this point. Due to the uncertainty in flight operations, Cathay Pacific has said it will not be accepting any new bookings for the next few days.

- SAS has estimated the negative effects on earnings to be MSEK 50-90 per day, assuming that all flights are cancelled. The impact is lowest on weekends and highest on busy travel days such as Mondays and Thursdays. As a result, the total earnings impact up to and including Sunday, 19 April 2010 is estimated to approximately MSEK 220-280. The estimate includes extra reimbursements to customers such as hotel accommodation expenses and costs for alternative transportation.

- 20% of Emirates' fleet - or 30 aircraft - remain on the ground with much of Europe's airspace still closed. The disruption has cost the airline somewhere in the region of $50 million. The airline said on Monday that it is not accepting passengers for travel to any European destinations apart from Moscow, Athens, Larnaca, Malta and Istanbul until the 21st April. Over 250 Emirates' flights have been cancelled and more than 80,000 passengers have been impacted by the ongoing disruption.

- Qantas has made further changes to its scheduled services on Tuesday 20 April due to the continued closure of airspace in Europe. All flights from Asia to Europe are cancelled as follows:

Tuesday 20 April
- QF5 Singapore to Frankfurt cancelled
- QF9 Singapore to London Heathrow cancelled
- QF31 Singapore to London Heathrow cancelled

Qantas inbound services from London Heathrow and Frankfurt will be cancelled as follows:

Tuesday 20 April
- QF32 London to Singapore cancelled
- QF30 London to Hong Kong cancelled
- QF10 London to Singapore cancelled
- QF2 London to Bangkok cancelled
- QF6 Frankfurt to Singapore cancelled

- Finnair has cancelled all of its flights on Tuesday and will most likely do the same on Wednesday. During a hole in the ash cloud Finnair was able to operate a flight from New York to Helsinki and back to New York. The flight landed in Helsinki at 16:41 EET. The flight to New York departed from Helsinki at 19:55 EET.

- Thai Airways International has had to cancel nine out of 13 routes to Europe, that is, Bangkok-London, Bangkok-Frankfurt, Bangkok-Copenhagen, Bangkok-Oslo, Bangkok-Stockholm, Bangkok-Zurich, Bangkok-Munich, Bangkok-Paris, Bangkok-Milan. Four destinations that have not been restricted - Bangkok-Rome, Bangkok-Madrid, Bangkok-Athens, and Bangkok-Moscow. THAI said it has to continue the cancellation of these nine routes from 19-22 April 2010.

The number of THAI flights cancelled from 16-19 April 2010 totals 70 flights, with 36 outbound flights and 34 inbound flights. Total number of THAI passengers who are stranded is 21,625, of which 10,550 passengers are still in Bangkok. Of those abroad, there are 2,500 Thai nationals. The financial loss to THAI is approximately 100 million THB per day.

Although there are some intra-European flights, this is allowed only for smaller aircraft that fly below 19,500 feet. However, the Euro airspace restricts intercontinental flights since the aircraft on these routes are required to fly above 24,500 feet.

- Finnair has arranged alternative transportation for its Finnish passengers still in Europe by bus and ship from Berlin via Tallinn to Helsinki on Wednesday, 21 April 2010. The bus will leave from Berlin for Tallinn at 2.00 p.m. EET. The ship will arrive in Helsinki at 11.00 p.m. EET on Thursday, 22 April. Customers must make travel arrangements themselves to Berlin. Customers who wish to participate in the Berlin-Tallinn-Helsinki travel arrangement should call +358 800 92242.

- IATA criticized Europes methodology of closing airspace based on theoretical modeling of the ash cloud. This means that governments have not taken their responsibility to make clear decisions based on facts. Instead, it has been the air navigation service providers who announced that they would not provide service. And these decisions have been taken without adequately consulting the airlines. This is not an acceptable system particularly when the consequences for safety and the economy are so large, said Bisignani.

The scale of airspace closures currently seen in Europe is unprecedented. We have seen volcanic activity in many parts of the world but rarely has it resulted in airspace closures - and never at this scale. When Mount St. Helens erupted in the US in 1980, we did not see large scale disruptions, because the decisions to open or close airspace were risk managed with no compromise on safety, added Bisignani, who urged Eurocontrol to establish a volcano contingency centre capable of making coordinated decisions.

- A total number of 47 scheduled JAL flights between Japan and the European cities of London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Milan, Rome and Moscow have been cancelled since 15 April 2010, affecting some 11,700 passengers. Japan Airlines decided to operate 1 flight each from Rome and Moscow to Tokyo (Narita) on 19 April 2010, departing from the reopened airports after it was ascertained that flights will be able to avoid areas restricted due to the ash plumes.

- On Sunday evening, KLM operated two commercial flights - one to Bangkok and Taipei and another to Sharjah in the UAE. KLM said that during the flight, and during the technical inspection that followed, nothing out of the ordinary was found in either aircraft. The first two flights carried no passengers but transported cargo and flight crews.

- IATA says that the industry is losing in excess of US$200 million per day in lost revenues. In addition to lost revenues, airlines will incur added costs for re-routing of aircraft, care for stranded passengers and stranded aircraft at various ports.

- Finnair is arranging alternative transportation for its European passengers still in Finland by ship and bus from Helsinki to Berlin via Tallinn on Monday 19 April and Tuesday 20 April.  A ship will leave Helsinki for Tallinn at 9.30 p.m. EET on both days. The travel route is from Helsinki to Tallinn by ship and from Tallinn to Berlin by bus. The estimated travel time is around 34 hours. Passengers who have travelled to Finland on a visa must ensure that their Schengen area visa is valid for the entire period of their travel. Customers must make travel arrangements themselves from Berlin to their final destination. Customers who wish to participate in the Helsinki-Tallinn-Berlin travel arrangement should call 0800 92242.

- Over the weekend of 17 and 18 April 2010, KLM, Air France, Lufthansa and British Airways conducted test flights, to see the effect that the ash had on the aircraft. While some call the tests gimmicks to put pressure on governments to open airspace, the airlines all reported that no damage was caused to the engines, windscreen or aircraft as a whole. It is not clear how many scientists were involved in the tests.

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