The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has lifted the flying ban within Irish airspace, except for a small block off the South coast of Ireland.

The country's three main airports, Cork, Dublin and Shannon have opened for flights.

However, flights to and from Europe remain disrupted with the large cloud of volcanic ash moving eastwards over the UK and Europe.

"The weather maps show the volcanic ash cloud hanging over England and Wales and most of mainland Europe. So there will continue to be restrictions in those countries for at least the next 24 hours.

“This will mean that there will continue to be serious disruption for east bound and south bound traffic out of Irish airports,” said the IAA in a statement this morning.

If the Icelandic volcanic eruption worsens the IAA will be forced to implement further flight restrictions.


"We are concerned that the volcano continues to be very active and we cannot rule out further restrictions if the weather patterns change and the ash cloud returns to Ireland."

Irish airlines Ryanair and Aer Lingus have both cancelled all flights in and out of the UK and Europe.

They have urged passengers to keep up to date with the airlines.

However, all is not lost for US bound passengers, as Aer Lingus have announced that US bound flights will operate today with delays.

The European air safety organization has said that the volcanic eruption could interfere with air traffic for a further six months. The organization said that the current air traffic disruption could last another two days.

About 11,000 flights are expected to take place in Europe today, compared to the daily average of 28,000.

Trans Atlantic flights from the US and Europe have been severely disrupted and economists believe that the disruption could have a profound financial impact on airlines.

The International Air Transport Association only announced several days ago that airlines were slowly coming out of recession.

Over 500 Irish flights were cancelled yesterday with an estimated 50,000 people affected by the restrictions.

Irish ferry operators noted an "exceptional demand" for sailings with many of them filling to full capacity.

It has been rumored that many music artists that are supposed to play at the prestigious Trinity College Ball in Dublin tonight, are crossing the Irish sea in a ferry.

Eurocontrol deputy head of operations, Brian Flynn, said, “The extent is greater than we’ve ever seen before in the EU. The meteorological situation is such that the volcanic ash is progressing very slowly eastwards but there is not a lot of wind . . . so it is very slow and very dense.”

The volcanic ash contains tiny particles of glass and rock, which can shred jet engines. Unfortunately there is no rainfall expected across Europe for the next 2-3 days, so a clearing of the ash looks unlikely.

The European Consumer Centre in Dublin has advised all passengers affected by the restrictions to keep receipts of their intended travel.

European regulations state that one must be offered a choice between rerouting to the intended destination or be offered a full refund.


Alternatively if an overnight stay is necessary, the airline must provide food and accommodation to stranded passengers.

Irish health official Maurice Mullen said there was "no specific health concerns" from the volcanic ash.