Irish airspace reopens after six days of grounding by volcano
Irish airspace has officially reopened after the volcanic ash cloud emanating from Iceland shut it down for six days.
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) announced that airspace is open "all over Ireland".
However, the IAA warned that airlines would not return to normal service for several days.
The ash cloud is currently between Iceland and Ireland, and the IAA will issue a further update at 1 p.m..
The IAA said that airlines have agreed "to an increased regime of risk management, ash ingestion assessment, and maintenance inspections, to ensure that no threat is posed to passenger safety."
Ryanair has canceled all flights to and from the UK until 1 p.m. on Friday. The airline has canceled all flights to an from Northern Europe until 1 p.m. tomorrow.
Ryanair plans to use all UK and Ireland aircraft to clear the backlog of all European flights to help get stranded passengers home quicker.
The airline has also announced that it is suspending all check-in and baggage fees for several days.
Aer Lingus said that it hopes to return to a normal schedule by 1 p.m. today.
Most of it's transatlantic services will operate, except for the EI 105 from Dublin to New York and the EI 133 from Dublin and Shannon to Boston have been canceled.
Two transatlantic flights from Atlanta and Philadelphia touched down in Dublin this morning.
The French embassy in Dublin has started to ferry French citizens home by bus.
Ryanair and Aer Lingus estimate they have lost $100 million between them.
Ryanair is losing $8 million a day while Aer Lingus is losing roughly $7 million a day.
There are an estimated 30,000 Irish passengers stranded abroad, and the ash cloud grounded over 60,000 flights over the past week.
IAA chief executive Eamonn Brennan said that the phased reopening of airspace is subject to further volcanic activity.
Brennan welcomed the opening of the airspace and said that the deal with the airline industry provided a log term solution to volcanic ash.
Whilst the volcano is generating less ash and more lava, the ash cloud between Iceland and Ireland may not drift until this weekend.
Ireland's meteorological office said that they are expecting easterly winds this weekend that will blow the ash to Greenland.
It is estimated that 60 percent of all scheduled European flights will fly today.
The World Health Organization announced that the ash particles pose no risk while they remain at high altitudes. The Environmental Protection Agency has said there has been no deterioration in air quality.
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