Tuesday 20 March 2018

Airports return to normal as backlog clears

Paul Melia

FLIGHT schedules returned to normal at Irish airports yesterday after eight days of disruption caused by the volcanic ash cloud.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said Dublin, Shannon and Cork Airports were all meeting demand from airlines, with 95pc of flights operating across Europe yesterday.

And the main airlines said there was a return to business as usual, with Ryanair resuming flights between Ireland and Britain yesterday morning.

The low-cost carrier claimed to have cleared the backlog of passengers waiting to travel by close of business yesterday and said three extra flights from Lanzarote to Dublin, Las Palmas to Stansted and Lanzarote to Birmingham had been laid on for today.

Spare seats were available on scheduled and extra flights, it said.

Aer Lingus said all its services between Ireland and Britain, Europe and the US were operating as normal.

Extra flights were deployed with more than 500 extra seats available for passengers travelling to Dublin from Malaga, Madrid, Lanzarote, Lisbon and Rome. The Dublin Airport Authority said it had resumed full operations and there were no "considerable" delays.

But a spokeswoman said some delays would arise as services returned to normal.

"Everything is fine, we're back to normal," she said. "It's the normal schedule with some extra flights as airlines try to get people back. There's very few queues but there are some delays."

Cork Airport said it had resumed full services and it was very much business as usual.

"We have 33 departures and 6,500 passengers expected," a spokesman said.

"There hasn't been any extra capacity arranged, the airlines haven't scheduled any additional flights. Obviously there are still passengers waiting to get on flights but everything that should be operating today is operating.

"Looking at the weekend ahead it looks like the worst should be over."

Shannon Airport said it too had resumed normal services with 16 arrivals and 16 departures expected, accommodating 4,300 passengers.

European air traffic has also returned to normal. Air traffic agency Eurocontrol said up to 29,000 flights operated yesterday, with almost all of European airspace -- apart from part of northern Scotland -- open.

Irish Independent

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