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Europe travel chaos begins to ease

Middle East airlines restart services after six days of cancellations and delays due to the Iceland volcano ash cloud.

April 21, 2010 5:01 by

Middle East airlines have resumed flights to Europe, almost a week after a cloud of ash from an Icelandic volcano paralysed the air travel industry.

Etihad and Emirates, two of the region’s largest carriers, both said that services had resumed, following the decision to reopen European airspace.

According to air traffic agency Eurocontrol, around 75 percent of European flights were due to operate on Wednesday. Airlines are now attempting to cope with the backlog from the cancellation of 95,000 flights.

Dubai’s Emirates airline operated around 40 flights to Europe on Wednesday, but warned in a statement on its website that “the situation across Europe remains unpredictable and passengers are asked to be patient.”

“Flights to and from Germany continue to experience disruption at the moment and may be cancelled or re-routed. Please check your flight status below before proceeding to the airport,” the airline said in a statement posted on its website.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said that, while the “situation in Europe and the UK remains unpredictable”, the “majority of flights are now running again.”

International air transport group IATA says the disruptions have cost the industry $1.7 billion.

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