Travel Updates - Tuesday, 20 April

Monday 19 July 2010 17.05
Europe - Ash coverage over Europe on 20 April
Europe - Ash coverage over Europe on 20 April

Useful Links - Airlines/Airports/Ferries/Buses/Trains/etc

Are you affected by the travel disruption? Would you like to share your thoughts with other readers of this live text commentary? Email newsonline@rte.ie. Please note: Comments may be edited and not all comments will be published.

Main developments:

  • Phased full reopening of Irish and UK airspace from 9pm
  • Shannon Airport to remain open tonight and tomorrow
  • Dept of Foreign Affairs helpline: (00353) 1-408-2999
  • Decreased activity at Icelandic volcano
  • Ryanair cancels all flights between Ireland and the UK until 1pm on Friday
  • Aer Lingus to restart flights from 1pm tomorrow

23:14 Air traffic control company Nats has denied it had faced British Government pressure to ease flight restrictions following the spread of the volcanic ash cloud.

21:27 Aer Lingus' schedule is still cancelled until 1pm tomorrow.
Passengers are advised to check www.aerlingus.com.

21:24 Shannon Airport has confirmed is to remain open tonight and again tomorrow. However Ryanair has cancelled all its scheduled flights until Friday and Aer Lingus has also cancelled services, but that may be under review for tomorrow.

Shannon authorities are advising people to still check in with their airlines about when they can get a flight. Tonight, the airport accomodated the landing of five British Airways flights from various airports in the US. However, BA is hoping those planes can to fly onto Britain tonight.

21:00 Statement from Irish Aviation Authority:

- The Irish Aviation Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority of the UK have sanctioned the resumption of full service on a phased basis in all Irish and UK airspace from 2100hrs local tonight - Tuesday 20th April, 2010, to Europe, North America and the UK.

- The IAA warns that the lifting of the restrictions is subject to the ash cloud, currently positioned between Iceland and Ireland, not moving over Ireland tonight and no further aggressive volcanic activity.

- It is expected that flights tomorrow will focus on positioning aircraft and crews and full service by the airlines may take up to three days to recover. Passengers should consult airline websites before travelling to the airport for flights.

20.37 The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has ordered a phased reopening of much of the country's airspace from 10pm.

20:32 Poland will reopen its airspace and all airports tomorrow at 0500 GMT.

20.06 The Icelandic Civil Protection Department says activity in the Eyjafjallajokull volcano is decreasing.

20:00 Transport Minister Noel Dempsey has rejected suggestion that the closure of Irish skies to airlines has been an over-reaction.

Speaking in the Dáil this evening, Mr Dempsey also said he does not think the State will be compensating airlines that have lost money due to cancellations. He said the country's current financial situation means the State cannot afford it.

19.55 An Aer Lingus flight from Tenerife has arrived in Shannon. Passengers are being accommodated on buses to travel back to Dublin.

19.30 Flybe has cancelled all remaining services until 1pm tomorrow.

19.05 British officials say BA do not have permission to land planes at Heathrow tonight.

18.40 All Aer Lingus flights cancelled until 1pm tomorrow

Shannon Airport has said it is preparing for up to 11 British Airways flights arriving from the United States between 7pm and 9pm tonight.

The aircraft had planned to fly to Heathrow in London but if they can not land there, they will and at Shannon, where it is likely passengers will overnight.

18.37 Air France plans to run 100% of its long-haul flights tomorrow

18.20 Statement from Irish Aviation Authority:

Based on the latest Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre reports the following is the situation within Irish Airspace.

a) Dublin Airport will remain closed for all inbound and outbound commercial flights until 10pm tonight.

b) Shannon Airport is currently open but will close at 9pm. Shannon airport had been scheduled to close at 7pm, but is being kept open until to facilitate the safe return of British Airways aircraft already en route.

c) Cork airport will remain closed until 10pm.

d) Overflights of Irish Airspace are permitted above Flight Level 205 (twenty thousand five hundred feet )

18.14 It is now understood that nine Government TDs and six from the Opposition are stranded abroad by the volcano crisis.

The Government deputies who are unable to get home are junior ministers Conor Lenihan, Áine Brady and Michael Finneran; Fianna Fáil backbenchers Johnny Brady, Frank Fahy, Sean Ardagh and John O'Donoghue, Independent Michael Lowry, and Eamon Scanlon, who is currently outside the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party but still votes with the Government.

However, this is somewhat balanced out by missing Opposition TDs - Brendan Howlin of Labour, and Fine Gael's Olivia Mitchell, Damian English, Jim O'Keeffe, James Reilly and Bernard Allen.

18.09 Speaking in the Dáil this evening, Transport Minister Noel Dempsey said that it is easy for people without responsibilities to suggest that the actions were over the top.

He said he disputed the notion. He said if a plane had crashed over Ireland in the last few days, he would have been called in the Dail to explain why Irish skies were left open.

17.55 Shannon airspace, which was due to close at 7pm, is now open until 9pm.

17.50 Irish troops, who were due to fly back from Kosovo at 4.25pm this afternoon, are still stuck in Pristina.

The Defence Forces have said that the possibility of the troops being redeployed today has been ruled out.

Barring any major developments, the Defence Forces will give an update on the situation at 9am tomorrow morning.

17.45 Thomas Cook has confirmed that it will undertake more than 80 flights across Europe today. The company says it is looking to increase this number significantly tomorrow.

17.14 P&O Irish Sea services on the Dublin to Liverpool route are currently operating on schedule.

There is limited space remaining on the 9.30pm Liverpool to Dublin sailing tonight and there is also space on the 9.30am Dublin to Liverpool sailing tomorrow morning.

P&O’s services from Larne to Cairnryan and Troon are also operating as normal with space available.

16.54 What are your rights as an air passenger affected by the air travel disruption? Click here for consumer rights

16.45 Aer Lingus is relocating four aircraft from Barcelona, Rome, Naples and Lisbon into Shannon Airport to reposition those aircraft for when business can resume.

16.37 The reopening of Copenhagen at 1am tomorrow morning will be a temporary measure, with the airport due to close again at 7am.

16.27 Car company Nissan has suspended production of some vehicles in Japan because it is unable to import air pressure sensors from Antrim due to the air traffic disruption in Europe.

Antrim-based Schrader Electronics makes tyre pressure sensors for use on cars sold on the North American market, where the product is compulsory.

16.23 Copenhagen Airport in Denmark will reopen at 1am tomorrow morning.

Danish authorities have also decided to close airspace over southern Greenland under 20,000 feet until 1am tomorrow morning.

16.19 The IAA has said that Shannon Airport is to close again at 7pm after it reopened at 1pm this afternoon. It has also been confirmed that Dublin and Cork airports will remain closed until 8pm.

Overflights of Irish airspace are being allowed above 20,500 feet.

16.13 Aer Lingus has now confirmed that one of its aircraft has left Tenerife and is due to fly into Shannon Airport shortly after 7pm this evening.

It is carrying an estimated 100 passengers who had been at Tenerife Airport and whose return flights had been delayed.

16.11 Flight restrictions will remain in place in the UK until at least 1am tomorrow, except for parts of Scotland and part of northern England.

16.06 O2 says it will waive charges for text messages for those stranded abroad from tonight.

All O2 customers on the O2 network who are currently abroad will not be charged for texts from midnight tonight until midnight on Friday.

15.56 The consular crisis centre set up by the Department of Foreign Affairs has taken over 1,800 calls since Sunday from worried Irish people stranded abroad.

A spokesman said measures are in place in the US for passengers to extend their visas if they are stuck in the US. Details about the US visa situation are available on www.uscis.gov.

15.31 Ryanair has revealed that all flights between Ireland and UK have been cancelled until 1pm on Friday.

It says this will allow to allow for extra flights from Ireland to Continental Europe and from UK to Continental Europe on Thursday.

Ryanair details:

  • Southbound flights from Spain, Southern Italy, Malta and Morocco continue as normal.
  • Southbound fights from South of France (Marseille) to resume Wednesday.
  • Extra flights from Madrid to Canary Islands scheduled for Wed 21 April and Thursday 22 April to move passengers from Canaries to mainland Spain.
  • Flight cancellations in Northern Europe extended from 11pm Wednesday to 1pm Thursday.

15:09 Much of the UK will remain a no-fly zone until at least 1am tomorrow.

Just airspace covering Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh and Newcastle airports, as well as Glasgow and Teesside airports, will be open for flights from 7pm today until 1am tomorrow, air traffic control company Nats said a short time ago.

14.58 Flight restrictions will remain in place in the UK until at least 1am tomorrow except for parts of Scotland and part of northern England, air traffic control company Nats said.

14.22 Airport Parking Site, who provide a facility for customers to book car spaces using independent car parks such as airport hotels, have set up a dedicated email service to answer queries from those affected by the travel disruption. The address is volcanicash@airportparkingsite.ie

14.14 Yesterday our boss, who had been stuck in the south of France since last Thursday, informed us that she had departed France by boat. She has been in touch again to say she has departed Holyhead (see pic below) and will be home this evening. We reckon that after all the stress and uncertainty she should take a few days off (hint, hint). We'll be fine, boss; we'll be fine!

13.55 Click here to watch today's One News.

13.52 A low pressure weather system moving into Iceland should help clear the volcanic ash cloud that has disrupted flights across Europe within days, an expert from the World Meteorological Organisation has said.

13.49 Stranded travellers tell their stories to Joe Duffy on Liveline. Listen LIVE

13.43 What is it like to have the Eyjafjallajökull volcano on your doorstep? See below. Photo credit: IAVCEI

13.42 The Chief Executive of Cityjet has said that some airlines have taken risks running test flights through volcanic ash plumes.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Geoffrey O'Byrne White that following these test flights damage had been caused to some aircrafts which had flown in proximity to the ash.

He said there was no point conducting test flights unless they were carried out by scientific aircraft.

13.33 Volcanic ash from Iceland has been recorded at ground level in Ireland.

The Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies at NUI Galway recorded particles in the air at its monitoring station at Mace Head on the Connemara Coast last night.

13.31 Belfast and Glasgow airports closed from 1pm

13.08 A group of 15 Irish people are among those caught up in the volcanic ash crisis at JFK in New York.

Among them are Audrey O'Reilly, Paul Burdis, Donna Ferns and Derek Hoey who have been at Terminal 4 since last Saturday.

They have been provided with Red Cross camp beds within the terminal.

Audrey O'Reilly was returning from her honeymoon with her husband Paul.

They had travelled from Las Vegas via New York to get a connecting flight to Shannon but have been unable to leave JFK.

They sent us this photo:

JFK Airport

12.48 The Government's emergency taskforce has said that weather forecasts still indicate that by the weekend the weather pattern should enable more flight restrictions to be eased over Ireland and Europe.

Chair of the committee Maurice Mullen said the geological information available indicated that the volcano is generating less ash than previously, although there are still some smaller sporadic eruptions taking place.

12.40 Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has said 200 people have contacted the Consular Crisis Centre at the Department of Foreign Affairs today.

Dublin Airport

12.24 Air Coach has amended services due to the disruption of flights.

Greystones - Dublin Airport Service Suspended

This decision will be reviewed following the updates from the Irish Aviation Authority, and further information will be posted on our website.

Dublin Airport - Dublin City centre - Ballsbridge/Leopardstown Service: These services continue to operate with a reduced frequency.

Cork - Dublin - Dublin Airport: Service operating to normal timetable

Belfast - Dublin Airport - Dublin City: Service operating as normal

Air Coach is delighted to advise that it has commenced a new service linking Dublin Ferry Port to Dublin Airport to facilitate passengers who may require to travel between these two locations as a result of the current air travel restrictions.

Coaches will meet all Ferry arrivals at Dublin Ferry Port and travel directly to Dublin Airport via the Port Tunnel.

12.05 Ryanair will operate additional flights tomorrow and Thursday from Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife to Madrid.

12.03 The European Air Traffic Agency, Eurocontrol, said it expected up to 60% of flights over Europe to go ahead today.

12.00 Dublin Airport will remain closed for all inbound and outbound commercial flights until 1900 hours tonight. Shannon Airport will reopen from 1300 hours. Cork Airport will remain closed but a further update will be provided this afternoon. Overflights of Irish Airspace are permitted above Flight Level 205 (20,500ft)

11.50 Moldova, which lies between Ukraine and Romania, said it had resumed international flights from 0730GMT on Tuesday because the concentration of volcanic ash had lessened.

11.25 Another satellite image from NASA. This one, showing the thick ash plume from the volcano, was taken on 17 April. High res image here

11.02 The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called on employers to be sympathetic to workers who are stranded abroad and missing work because of the air travel crisis.

In a statement, ICTU said that employers should not dock the pay of these employees or penalise them further by pressurising them to use up annual leave.

10.58 Iarnród Éireann has said it is delaying its 5.55pm service from Rosslare to Dublin until 6.45pm 'to facilitate high numbers travelling on ferry services'.

10.55 The World Meteorological Organisation has said the ash cloud is expected to change direction and head towards the Arctic when the weather changes towards the end of the week.

10.52 German airspace is to remain closed until 7pm tonight.

10:40 Interesting graphic from the Nordic Volcanological Centre showing the structure of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Visit site

10.20 Irish troops, who were due to fly back from Kosovo at 4.25pm this afternoon, remain in Pristina.

'Defence Forces logistics staff and Department of Defence are liaising closely with the aviation authorities and the aircraft providers but the situation remains unclear.

'The next decision point for us is at 1.00pm when the review of Irish airspace takes place. If Irish Airspace re-opens then our aircraft will reposition to Pristina and then return to Ireland later this evening with our troops.

'The troops retain all possible comforts including gym, canteen and cookhouse facilities.'

10.05 Icelandic police have said activity at the volcano remains relatively stable. It said blasts were seen from three separate craters, but the plume of ash has diminished.

09.47 The European Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre has said a fresh cloud of volcanic ash will pass over Britain and Denmark but spare France.

09.31 Aer Lingus has confirmed it has cancelled its flight schedule for the remainder of today.

The airline is to notify passengers by text message this morning.

09.30 Flights before 7pm today will only be allowed in eastern Scotland and part of northern England.

09.28 Europe's Transport Commissioner has defended the EU response to the disruption. Commissioner Siim Kallas said that suggestions that the European model had failed were extraordinarily wrong.

09.26 Ryanair has said it hopes to carry out test flights today.

09.24 The European Consumer Centre in Ireland has reminded consumers that even in these exceptional circumstances their air passenger rights continue to apply. Details at http://www.eccireland.ie/

09.23 Some flights have resumed in Paris. Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau said that 30% of scheduled national and international flights would fly from Charles de Gaulle and Orly today.

09.20 Hungary has fully reopened its airspace, according to Air Traffic Controllers.

09.17 The National Air Traffic Service, which controls UK airspace, said Scotland's airspace will be open, while the skies over the rest of Britain will be closed below the ash cloud. It will issue a further statement at 1400 GMT.

09.13 A spokeswoman at Manchester Airport said that the airport would be shut until at least 7pm tonight. It had hoped to open at 9am today.

09.05 Nissan will suspend some production of vehicles in Japan because it is unable to import air pressure sensors from Ireland.

08.52 The first of three Royal Navy warships began rescuing stranded Britons at Santander in northern Spain this morning.

08.50 Donie Mooney Irish Aviation Authority said it had no option but to impose the restriction on Irish airspace again and 'effectively landlock Irish airports'.

08.38 The Dublin Airport Authority has said the situation with flight cancellations is unlikely to improve today.

The DAA's Siobhan Moore said the disruption is having a significant impact on businesses operating at the airport.

08.30 Swiss airspace re-opened as scheduled at 7am and operations at the country's two main airports Geneva and Zurich began slowly returning to normal.

08.25 Sigtrudur Arnsdottir of the Icelandic met office said: 'It is ongoing, it is steady. It seems to be mainly like it was yesterday. We got news last night that there was more lava now.'

08.18 Icelandic volcano still erupting steadily, ash cloud looks lower: Iceland met office

08.15 Danish airports to stay closed until midnight

08.09 City of Derry Airport says that Aer Arann services to and from Dublin which were due to have re-started this morning have now been cancelled.

This evening's services between City of Derry and Dublin are currently scheduled to operate on time, however the airport says that during this very fluid situation all passengers should check regularily on their airline's websites for more accurate information.

07.53 Irish Ferries says they have plenty of passenger space on their ferries scheduled to depart from Dublin Port this morning and lunchtime.

07.42 Australia's Qantas Airways has extended its ban on flights to and from Europe for another 24 hours.

07.40 The first flight out of Glasgow was scheduled to take off for Stornoway at 7am but did not make it into the air until 7.15am.

07.38 All airspace closed again over Polish airports.

7.34 A French minister has said the two main airports in Paris will progressively open to allow around three-quarters of scheduled international flights to depart.

07.29 Lufthansa is to operate 200 flights, around 15% of its schedule

07.27 Iceland President Olafur Grimsson said international experts need to draw up plans on how to cope with a possible eruption from an even bigger volcano named Katla.

Mr Grimsson said it has a history of erupting twice a century and last erupted in 1918.

07.17 British Airways announced it cancelled all short-haul flights today based on the latest information about the volcanic ash cloud.

07.16 A spokeswoman for Newcastle International Airport said the first flight was expected to arrive at 9.20am from Aberdeen.

The airport confirmed it planned to reopen for flights to and from Aberdeen and the Isle of Man at 7am.

However, Manchester Airport said, due to the latest advice from NATS, it was not planning to open before 1pm.

07.15 EasyJet says all its flights to and from northern Europe including the UK are cancelled until 5pm, but it would continue to operate routes in southern Europe.

07.12 Aer Lingus says that by the end of 19 April, approximately 1,100 of its flights were cancelled.

The airline says that it is difficult to calculate the exact financial impact of these flight cancellations, the Group estimates that the total cash costs for the five days of cancellations are between €15m to €20m, with a current daily run rate of between €4m and €5m, as a result of lost revenue and the costs of passenger disruption.

06.39 Hundreds of New Zealanders have offered accommodation to tourists stranded by the European aviation chaos through an internet group set up by tourism officials.

About 2,000 tourists have been stranded in New Zealand by the closure of airports in Europe due to the impact of ash.

06.28 Norway has closed some airspace again because of the volcano ash cloud

06.27 The problem has spread west across the Atlantic, as Canada's Saint John's, Newfoundland announced it had cancelled a batch of domestic flights because of fears the ash would reach their airspace.

06.25 Australia warned that hotel accommodation in Asian transport hubs was limited as travellers remain stranded by the ash cloud that has shut down European airspace.

The foreign ministry said rooms in Singapore were 'severely limited', and warned the situation could continue beyond the end of April.

06.20 Here is a list of countries as of 0600GMT on Tuesday and their airspace status:

AUSTRIA - Airspace open as of 0300 GMT Monday.
BELGIUM - Air space closed until Tuesday 0600 GMT. May then allow some planes to land and from 1200 GMT some to depart. Airlines have been allowed to bring planes back to Belgium without passengers or freight.
BOSNIA - Airports open.
BRITAIN - Scottish airsports should be available from 0700 (local time) and more airspace over England may become available from 1300 (local time) although not as far south as the main London airports.
BULGARIA - All airspace and airports open.
CZECH REPUBLIC - Airspace and airports open as of 1000 GMT on Monday.
DENMARK - Airspace open for flights above 10,800 metres (35,500 feet). Airspace below this height closed all Monday.
ESTONIA - Airspace open from 0000 GMT to 0600 GMT Tuesday.
FINLAND - Airspace closed until 1500 GMT Tuesday.
FRANCE - Plans to progressively reopen airports and create air corridors from 0600 GMT. Air France will start resuming suspended flights from Tuesday.
GERMANY - Airspace closed, with some exceptions, until at least 1200 GMT Tuesday.
HUNGARY - Airspace fully open as of 1000 GMT Monday.
IRELAND - Ryanair, Europe's largest low-cost carrier, cancelled all flights to and from northern Europe until mid-Wednesday. Airspace restrictions continue.
ITALY - Airspace to reopen from 0600 GMT.
LATVIA - Airspace closed at least until Monday 1800 GMT. Transit flights permitted above an altitude of 6 km.
LITHUANIA - Airspace open.
LUXEMBOURG - Airspace closed until Monday 1800 GMT.
MONTENEGRO - Airports open.
NETHERLANDS - Passenger flights left Amsterdam's Schipol Airport from 1800 GMT Monday.
NORWAY - Air traffic open in most of Norway, including Oslo Gardermoen Airport, and looks set to stay open until midnight based on latest forecast, airport authority Avinor says. Only limited areas in northern Norway are closed for traffic.
POLAND - Four Polish airports including Warsaw and Krakow have reopened.
ROMANIA - Airspace fully reopened.
RUSSIA - All airports open. Aeroflot is flying to the United States via the North Pole.
SERBIA - Airports open.
SLOVAKIA - Eastern airspace open, as is the rest of its airspace for flights above 7,500 metres. Bratislava airport closed.
SLOVENIA - Slovenia expected another cloud of ash to reach its airspace around 1200 GMT Monday. It was then likely to close its airspace again, after opening it on Sunday night.
SPAIN - 17 airports open.
SWEDEN - Airspace open for flights north of a line stretching from the southern city of Gothenburg to Stockholm. Scandinavian Airlines resuming domestic flights in unrestricted airspace as well as flights between Stockholm and Oslo.
SWITZERLAND - Switzerland's civil aviation authority has decided to reopen Swiss air space from 0600 GMT on Tuesday following four successful test flights.
TURKEY - All airports open. Planes flying out of the Black Sea cities of Samsun, Sinop and Zonguldak have been advised not to fly higher than 6,000 metres.
UKRAINE - Kiev's Borispol airport open.

06.10 The Dublin Airport Authority says that due to the closure of Irish airspace effectively no flights will land or take off at Dublin Airport today.

Passengers are advised to consult with their airline or airline's website BEFORE coming to Dublin Airport.

06.08 Latest information from the UK Met Office shows that the situation is variable. It shows that Scottish airsports should be available from 0700 (local time) and more airspace over England may become available from 1300 (local time) although not as far south as the main London airports.

06.05 Aer Lingus says due to new volcanic eruptions the rest of today's scheduled operation looks extremely unlikely.

06.00 Irish airspace did not reopen at 5am as had been hoped due to renewed eruption of the Icelandic volcano.

The Irish Aviation Authority says a renewed eruption yesterday afternoon and the prevailing weather conditions have dashed plans to remove the restrictions in Irish Airspace today.

The latest Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre reports show Ireland at the centre of a contamination zone up to 1300 hours today.