Relief as UK flight ban ends

ALL UK airports re-opened last night after the Civil Aviation Authority

(CAA) decided to remove restrictions on airspace.

The first British Airways flight landed at Heathrow around 10pm, spelling an end to the six day ban on flying.

The announcement came after experts reassessed the risk to planes from volcanic ash. The CAA said that it had been a “situation without precedent.” and that decisions had been made based on “thorough gathering of data and analysis”. “The major barrier to resuming flight has been understanding tolerance levels of aircraft to ash,” it added.

The government said it welcomed the decision and that it expected airports to remain open over the coming days.

According to regulations all airlines must complete their own test flights before planes can return to the skies. And airlines warned it would take several days until all affected passengers would be able to be flown to their destinations.

BA said it planned to operate all longhaul flights departing from Heathrow and Gatwick today but said shorthaul cancellations to and from London airports would remain until midday. Easyjet completed its test flight last night and Virgin Atlantic said it was working on contingency plans to restart flights over the next 24 hours.