Airports open but delays expected

Michael Hunt

Restrictions on flight travel due to a volcanic ash cloud have been lifted but airports in the North West are warning passengers to expect further delays on Wednesday.

The National Air Traffic Services said: "Overnight most of the UK's airspace has been available with the exception of an area over the north west of Scotland which has continued to be affected by a dense concentration of volcanic ash. We continue to work with the latest information and guidance from our safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Met Office and the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre on the predicted movements of the area of dense volcanic ash. Based on the latest information, we anticipate that this area will continue to centre on the north west of Scotland and may extend further south into Scottish airspace during today.

"Between the period of 0100 – 0700 on 21 April NATS handled 130 flights in airspace over England and Wales and 35 flights in Scottish airspace (including Northern Ireland). We are in regular contact with the UK airports and airline operators to understand the latest information on flights entering UK airspace and our operation is ready to respond to an increase in demand."

Liverpool John Lennon Airport is preparing for flights to recommence today and is awaiting further information from airlines as to what flights may operate. The airport is advising passengers to contact their airline for the latest information regarding particular flights. LJLA said passengers should only arrive at the airport once the departure of their flight has been confirmed by their airline.

Manchester Airport has also said passengers should also check with their airline before arriving at airport. The airport said in statement: "Flights can begin to operate from Manchester Airport as soon as our airlines are ready although this could take several hours of organisation.

"After six days without flights and tens of thousands of passengers waiting to be repatriated significant disruption is likely before normal operations are resumed."

Blackpool International is operating flights to the Isle of Man and Belfast, all others are still cancelled today.

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