Iceland Volcano Travel Update April 20th: British Airspace Reopen
Eyjafjallajokull Volcano Travel Update April 20 After Ash Flight Ban: British Airspace Reopens, First Flights Land
The first British Airways transatlantic flight from Vancouver British Columbia landed at London's Heathrow Airport on Tuesday April 20 as British airspace started to reopen. The travel chaos had resulted from the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano ash cloud that has now slowly begun to clear. British Airways updated their passengers on their website.
The British Airways flight from Vancouver was the first commercial airliner to land in Heathrow for about five days according to CNN.
All other British airports are getting ready to reopen as well, although the airspace will reopen in stages and not all at the same time as the ash cloud is still present. Some 'no-fly zones' will remain in effect, however they will not be at the extent that travelers have seen in the past five days.
When the announcement came that British airspace was to reopen, about 24 British Airways flights were already in the air hoping to get clearance to land in London. They were coming from the West Coast of the United States, Africa, Asia and India. One of the planes hoping to land in London was sent to Brussels however.
"We are very pleased that the aviation authorities have opened U.K. airspace to enable us to begin in earnest the task of bringing our stranded customers home," British Airways said in a statement.
What Does This Mean For Travelers?
It will take some time for things to get back to normal for travelers. Flights are backed up and people have been stranded for up to five days and those people will have priority for getting to their destination.
British Airways does hope to operate all long-haul scheduled flights out of Heathrow and Gatwick on Wednesday April 21 however.
"This will help to get more aircraft, pilots and cabin crew back who are currently in the United Kingdom out to cities around the world to help customers still awaiting a flight," BA said.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has stated that even though airspace is reopened, they are still conducting tests and that the current standards for aircrafts is that they should be exposed to a zero rate of volcanic ash. While they want flights to resume as normal, they want passenger safety to be their top priority and state that passengers should still contact their airline before traveling to the airport.