Flights out of India to Europe resumed with a trickle on Tuesday as two foreign carriers, Lufthansa and Air France, operated a flight each, after volcanic ash disrupted air traffic for six days.
Indian carriers, which primarily operate to London, Brussels and Frankfurt, were awaiting clearances from authorities at these airports to allow them resume flights.
Air France and Lufthansa became the first airlines to resume services to Europe from India on Tuesday.
An Air France flight from Delhi left for Amsterdam, instead of Paris, in the wee hours, carrying only those passengers who were willing to go to the Dutch capital instead of Paris and take alternate modes of transport to their final destinations.
Lufthansa’s morning Delhi-Munich flight left as per schedule and the German carrier announced that all other flights out of Delhi, Mumbai would operate on time. Munich airport opened for limited operation on Tuesday, a statement said.
The German carrier said it had resumed long distance flights out of Germany on Tuesday, including all flights to India.
Lufthansa flights arriving at their Indian destinations on Tuesday would return to Germany on Tuesday night.
A spokesperson for Austrian airlines also said its Delhi-Vienna flight would leave in the wee hours on Wednesday as scheduled.
Officials of Jet Airways, Air India and Kingfisher held a series of meetings with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on the possibility of resuming flights to London as there were indications that Heathrow airport was to be made operational for limited hours from Tuesday night.
However, there was no clearance from Heathrow or other airport authorities till late evening.
A British Airways spokesperson said they had not received any confirmation on the issue.
Jet Airways, which had planned to launch its London operations by flying out of Delhi and Mumbai this afternoon, failed to get clearances from Heathrow as well as an alternate airport, airline sources said. Passengers were called to the airport but not boarded.
Air India has planned to deploy aircraft held at London airport to operate one flight each to Delhi and Toronto tomorrow, subject to clearances for flying stranded travellers. It may also fly one flight to London from Mumbai.
Two of AI’s Boeing-777s are stuck at Heathrow and one each were stationed at Frankfurt, Chicago and New York.
About 6,000 Europe-bound passengers have booking with Jet Airways while around 3,000 have with Air India.
A Kingfisher official said it would take a decision only after getting the latest update from Eurocontrol, which provides air navigation services throughout Europe.