Europe opens its airspace on Wednesday.
Here is the latest development as of 1942 GMT April 21, 2010.
• Ash cloud is affecting civilian and military air travel to and from Afghanistan, according to NATO.
• Qantas Airways said it will resume services between Europe and Australia, and Asia and Europe on Wednesday. Scheduled services between Australia and Europe via Asia will resume Thursday.
• “We have been closely monitoring the evolving situation in Europe and liaising with European authorities about the opening of airspace across Europe,” said Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO. He said the airline took a range of factors into consideration before making the decision to resume services.
• Some 40,000 passengers were expected at Brussels Airport on Wednesday, the Belgian Ministry of Transport said. The figure is considered busy, though not as busy as normal, the ministry said. About 15 flights arrived Wednesday morning, and there will be 200 total flights by afternoon.
• The British government scrapped plans to make the Madrid, Spain, airport a hub for stranded British travelers. It said any Britons who have been unable to return home because of travel restrictions should contact their airlines for the latest advice on available flights. British Embassy staff members are at the Madrid airport as well as the Calais, France, ferry terminal to assist any travelers who went there before the reopening of British airspace, the government said.
• Most of the airspace over the United Kingdom is available with the exception of an area over northwest Scotland, where there is a dense concentration of ash, air traffic control authority NATS said Wednesday morning. The ash is forecast to stay over the area and may extend farther south into Scottish airspace later Wednesday, NATS said.
• Manchester Airport said flights were both taking off and landing Wednesday. Ten flights departed overnight. The first flight to arrive Wednesday was a Thomas Cook charter aircraft from Sharm-El-Sheik, Egypt, that landed at 4:15 a.m. with 60 people on board, it said.
• Virgin Atlantic announced plans to resume operating its normal flight schedule Wednesday into and out of London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
• Beginning Thursday, budget airline Ryanair expects to resume a full schedule of Northern European flights, except those between Ireland and the United Kingdom. It is canceling all flights between Ireland and the United Kingdom until early Friday to use aircraft for extra flights Thursday from the United Kingdom to continental Europe and from Ireland to Europe to deal with the backlog.
• Cathay Pacific Airways, based in Hong Kong, had seven flights to Europe scheduled for Wednesday. It planned to resume its normal schedule from Thursday. However, because of the backup, new ticket purchases will not be for flights until May 5.
• Danish airspace is open for all flights until 8 a.m. Thursday, the Denmark Airspace Authority said.
• The airport in Helsinki, Finland, closed after it briefly reopened earlier Wednesday, the airport said.
• All long-haul flights are operating to and from Paris airports Wednesday, and 60 percent of short-haul flights were operating to and from the airports, the Paris Airports authority said.
• French authorities said all long-haul flights were leaving from Paris airports, along with 60 percent of short-haul flights.
• The following airports were open and accepting flights on Wednesday, said the country’s air traffic control DFS: Hamburg, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, all Berlin airports, Cologne, Frankfurt/main and Frankfurt Hahn, Saarbruecken, Nuernberg, Stuttgart, and Munch.
• Lufthansa has started flights to Munich and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from New Delhi, the ministry said.
• Volcanologists estimate the ash output from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull has dropped by 80 percent, compared with the first day of eruption on April 14. Current output was described as “insignificant,” by Armann Hoskulsson, a volcanologist at the University of Iceland, at a briefing Wednesday.
• Iceland Air will resume all of its suspended service to and from all European destinations, including London, on Wednesday, the airline said. European service will also resume from the airport in Reykjavik.
• Ash from the volcano is still reaching higher than 10,000 feet at times, according to Iceland’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management and Britain’s Met Office.
• A northerly wind was blowing the ash south, but at a higher altitude, a more easterly wind was blowing the ash toward the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management said.
• India’s state-run airline, Air India, has resumed daily flights to Paris and Frankfurt, Germany, as well as New York and Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. Flights from New Delhi to London and Frankfurt are expected to depart Thursday, India’s civil aviation ministry announced. It will also resume its Toronto, Ontario, flight from Amritsar in Punjab state Thursday.
• Air India’s flight stranded at Frankfurt arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday via Egypt
• Private carrier Jet Airways resumed flights to London from New Delhi and Mumbai. It has cleared its backlog for the U.S. and Canada via Athens, Greece, but its 6,000 Europe-bound passengers are stranded in Mumbai and New Delhi.
• Italy has reopened its airspace nationwide, the Italian aviation authority ENAC announced.
• No restrictions exist in Norwegian airspace. Officials were to reassess the situation later but do not expect anything to change until early Thursday.
• Thirty-two flights were canceled Wednesday, affecting 2,201 people, the Russian Transport Ministry said. In comparison, as many as 570 flights were canceled and 46 flights delayed Tuesday — problems affecting almost 33,000 people.
• Delays and/or cancellations occurred at four airports Wednesday, mostly in the European part of the country, the ministry said.
• Up to 15,000 Russian passengers were stranded in European cities, including 5,000 to 7,000 in Germany and about 5,000 in the United Kingdom, the Foreign Ministry estimated.
• Singapore Airlines has resumed flights to Europe from Singapore and from Australia — except into Frankfurt and Munich, Germany, where the airspace not been cleared. The airline has 3,000 stranded passengers in Australia who are trying to get to Europe and 5,000 Australians in Europe waiting to return to Australia, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
• Most if not all Swedish airports should be open by 4 p.m. (10 a.m. ET), Swedish airspace operator Swedavia said.
United Arab Emirates
• Emirates airline in the United Arab Emirates is operating all but two of its scheduled flights to Europe on Wednesday. Thirty-seven flights departed from Dubai, including 12 to the United Kingdom and seven to Germany. The two canceled flights were to fly early Wednesday to Heathrow and Gatwick airports near London.