Positive news for UK airspace
April 19th, 2010 by elisa

Ash plume from Eyjafjallajokull Volcano over the North Atlantic by NASA Goddard Photo and Video.

Smoke plume from Eyjafjallajokull Volcano picture by Flickr User NASA Goddard Photo and Video

After a weekend of no-fly zones across the UK and thousands of people stranded abroad, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. National Air Traffic Services (NATS) have issued an updated statement saying that Scottish and most of Northern England airspace should be re-opened at 7.00 tomorrow. Services will be able to operate south to a line between Teesside and Blackpool.

“Assuming there are no further significant ash emissions we are now looking at a continuously improving situation.” NATS said.

It added that while there was a changing situation, the latest Met Office advice is that the contamination area will continue to move south and that the volcano is currently not erupting to an altitude that will affect the UK airspace. This gives the possibility that airspace restrictions above England and Wales – including the London area – maybe lifted later tomorrow, NATS added.

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

ABTAchief executive Mark Tanzer said: “This is very good news for passengers. It will enable the normalisation of travel arrangements to begin, but this will necessarily be a phased process, due to length and scale of the suspension.

“Priority will be to return overseas passengers to the UK as soon as possible.

“Passengers with future bookings in the near term may still face disruptions, as normal service is resumed, and so should continue to check with their travel organisers prior to departing.”

A Manchester Airport spokesperson said: “NATS has confirmed that UK airspace will progressively open tomorrow.

“Consequently, Manchester Airport will be open from 09:00 on Tuesday 20 April 2010 unless there is a deterioration in conditions.

“It is absolutely essential that people contact their airline before travelling to the airport for any flight because schedules will take some time to return to normal.

“After five days without flights, tens of thousands of passengers waiting to be repatriated and the ash cloud continuing to cover parts of Europe, significant disruption is likely before normal operations are resumed.”

A spokesman for airports operator BAA said: “When airports do open for business, we will continue to strongly advise passengers that they must check the status of their flight with airlines before travelling to airports. We appreciate the continued patience of our passengers at this difficult time.”

A further NATS update is due to be given at 21.00 tonight. The update will be found through this link.

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