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European airspace reopens; Air India, Jet resume flights

Air India has resumed its daily flights to Paris and Frankfurt as well as to New York and Chicago with the reopening of airports in European nations.

Large scale flight disruptions over the past week occurred due to drifting ash clouds from the eruption of a volcano in Iceland, affecting thousands of passengers at airports in Europe and elsewhere.

“In addition to the U.S. flights, Air India will be operating Delhi-London, Mumbai-London, Delhi-Frankfurt and Amritsar-Delhi-London-Toronto flights from Thursday,” an Air India spokesperson said here on Wednesday.

Private carrier Jet Airways has also resumed its flights operating to London from Delhi and Mumbai, and its flight to Heathrow from Mumbai departed on Wednesday afternoon.

Air India's stranded flight from Frankfurt has reached Delhi via Egypt. The national carrier will operate its Delhi-London and Delhi-Frankfurt flights on Thursday, as also its Amritsar-Toronto flight.

Additional cockpit and cabin crew of Air India are in position to start extra flights, if needed, to clear up stranded passengers, the spokesperson added.

According to the latest figures available with the Civil Aviation Ministry, about 3,000 passengers bound for the U.S. and Europe booked on Air India were stranded in Delhi, while 1,300 were stranded in Amritsar and another 2,300, also booked on Air India, were stuck up in Mumbai.

Jet Airways cleared its backlog for U.S./Canada via Athens on Tuesday. A total of 6,000 passengers booked on Jet for Europe were stranded in Mumbai and Delhi.

Lufthansa has started a flight to Munich and Amsterdam from Delhi, while Air France has resumed its flights to Munich and Paris. Singapore Airlines has also resumed operations.

The Iceland Met office has reported a smaller amount of eruptions since Tuesday, and VAC-London also reported diminished ash concentration over European airspace.

Decision welcomed

Airbus Industries has welcomed the united industry position on acceptable tolerance levels for flight operations in the current environment, which was agreed upon on Tuesday.

Over the last few days, Airbus initiated discussions among the aviation community and provided full technical assistance to the authorities and its airline customers. These discussions led to a common evaluation of data and an agreed definition of acceptable tolerance levels, which enabled aviation authorities across the Europe to assess the situation, reopen airspace and allow flights in safe conditions.

On Monday, an A380 flight test aircraft flew for three hours and 50 minutes in French airspace, while an A340-600 flight test aircraft flew for five hours in French and German airspace as per normal procedures. The flight test crew did not notice anything abnormal and the post-flight inspection showed no irregularities.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 8:33:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/European-airspace-reopens-Air-India-Jet-resume-flights/article16371588.ece

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