Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Flights resume in Europe while travel chaos not over

LONDON — Many European flights took to the skies Tuesday for the first time in days although the travel chaos was far from over: London's airports were still closed, a massive flight backlog was rising and scientists feared that history could repeat itself with yet one more volcanic eruption in Iceland.

Airports in London — including Heathrow, the busiest in Europe — won't reopen until Wednesday at the most basic and forecasters said more delays were probable if the volcanic ash cloud stayed over much of the country.

German airspace too remained officially closed but 800 planes were allowed to land or take off, all flying at low altitude.

We were in the hotel having breakfast, and we heard an aircraft take off, everybody got up and applauded, said Bob Basso of San Diego, who has been stranded close to Charles de Gaulle since Friday.

The situation today is greatly improved, said Brian Flynn, deputy head of operations at the Brussels-based agency.

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