Germany′s airspace open for business | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 21.04.2010
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Germany

Germany's airspace open for business

Six days after a volcano erupted on Iceland and brought most European air traffic to a halt, German authorities have fully reopened airspace across the country.

Passengers queue in front of the counters in a terminal of the Frankfurt airport

Airlines are working to clear the backlog of passengers

Germany's main airports are open, and flights are beginning to return to normal as the disruption in Europe's airports begins to lift.

The government agency for air traffic control in Germany has now lifted the restrictions on air traffic.

Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, Bremen and Berlin airports have already begun dealing with the backlog of passengers.

Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa, said it would operate 500 of its usual 1400 flights. On Tuesday, Lufthansa, along with Germany's second largest carrier, Air Berlin, were flying through the airspace restrictions by flying planes at a lower altitude and using visual flight rules, so the pilot, not the ground tower is in control.

An airplane of the airline TUIfly.com lifts off at the Tegel airport in Berlin Germany

Most European flight schedules are slowly returning to normal

Skies opening up across Europe

In Britain, officials said all regular flight schedules had returned to normal after reassessing the risks. Transport Minister Andrew Adonis said all British airports could reopen and he expected them to remain open.

The association of European air traffic controllers, Eurocontrol, reported that well over half of the 28,000 regularly-scheduled flights would resume on Wednesday.

The airspace above most of the rest of Europe had reopened on Tuesday.

Airlines are now working to clear the backlog of hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded around the world.

Ash fears recede

Flights had been suspended across Europe due to fears that dust from an Icelandic volcano could turn into a glassy substance inside jet engines and damage them.

The Icelandic Meterological Office said on Wednesday morning that the troublesome volcano under the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier was spewing only a little smoke and ash. The smoke plume was reaching a height of three kilometers, compared with 11 kilometers a few days ago, it said.

The meteorologists added that the winds had changed in the area, blowing the ash north instead of southeast toward Europe.

cb/dpa/AP/AFP
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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