Flights resume to the UK, but chaos continues

Region's carriers take off, but backlog will take days to clear

Travel, Flight cancellations, Flight disruptions, Volcanic ash, Volcano

Airlines in the Middle East have resumed flights to the UK for the first time in seven days as the volcano eruption in Iceland subsided.

But despite the resumption of flights, many stranded passengers have a long wait ahead of them before they can bag a trip home.

Emirates Airline said it would try to operate as many flights as possible and would fly to London Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow throughout the day.

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However the airline added that it would not accept any new passengers for travel to the UK and Germany until Friday at the earliest.

"This is in order to facilitate the travel of a significant number of customers currently in Dubai awaiting onward connections to Europe. The policy is in effect until 23rd April," the airline said in a statement.

Etihad Airways said it had cancelled early flights to Manchester, Dublin and Frankfurt on Wednesday but added it would "resume flights whenever possible".

Qatar Airways also grounded early services to Heathrow, Munich, Frankfurt, Manchester, Gatwick and Berlin.

Hans Haensel, divisional senior vice president, Destination & Leisure Management at Emirates Holidays said: “There will be a backlog, we cannot guarantee that passengers will be able to go on the first available flight, but within three or four days we should be able to get them back wherever they are coming from.

“We are not just talking about clients here from Dubai or the UAE," he added. "We are talking about clients from other GCC markets and other countries south of Dubai where Emirates Holidays is active in selling packages. So just for Emirates Holidays I would say four days to clear the backlog – it's not a brilliant situation.”

The resumption of UK flights comes following a decision by UK authorities to start lifting restrictions on Tuesday night, after new guidance from the UK’s safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority.

 

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