Aer Lingus says it will operate a full transatlantic schedule between the United States and Ireland tomorrow, as well from the Emerald Isle to some other European destinations until 1 p.m. Irish time.

All flights from Dublin, Cork and Belfast to Spain, Portugal and Italy with a scheduled departure time up to 1 p.m. will operate as scheduled tomorrow.

Aer Lingus also will try to bring back most of its European schedule after that time. On its English London routes, all flights from Dublin, Cork, Knock, Shannon and Belfast to London Heathrow and Gatwick with a scheduled departure time up to 1 p.m. have been canceled.

The Irish Aviation Authority stressed the easing of restrictions was not a return to full service for Ireland's airlines, and normal operations were not expected to be in place for up to three or four days. The volcanic ash crisis still remains and must be monitored on a constant basis to ensure passenger safety.

The airline said only travelers with confirmed reservations for flights scheduled to operate on Tuesday should go to airports.

To help travelers cope with the disruption caused by the still-erupting volcano in Iceland, Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Michael Martin, has announced the opening of a consular crisis center for Irish citizens that are stranded abroad, due to the volcanic ash cloud grounding most European flights.

The crisis center will be based in Dublin and will open until 8 p.m. every night.

The center will provide information and reassurances, but will be unable to organize individual travel arrangements.

The UK government has sent two Royal Navy ships to pick up stranded British citizens on mainland Europe.

Unfortunately the Irish state does not have the capacity to do something similar to the UK.

"I am deeply conscious of the plight of the many thousands of Irish citizens who have found themselves unable to return home because of the restrictions." said Martin.

Martin said there are many citizens that are running out of money and prescription medicines.

"I am also well aware of the huge efforts that the Irish embassies abroad are already undertaking to assist those stranded."

"I would like to assure all those who find themselves stranded that the Government are acutely aware of their difficulty's and will keep the position under review,” said Martin.

Martin encouraged those that are encountering medical and visa problems to contact their local embassy or consulate.

The Minister also asked relatives to transfer money to cash-strapped passengers.

KLM, Air France, and Lufthansa flew safe test flights yesterday across Europe, and may have found a few flyable routes where the ash cloud is less thick.

Over 63,000 flights have been cancelled across Europe and over 5 million passengers have been affected.


Ireland's Central Statistics Office shows rise in flights to Ireland from North America while trips by British residents have continued to decline