Germany extends flight ban until afternoon


Airports in Frankfurt, Berlin, Erfurt, Leipzig and Hannover were given permission yesterday to operate until 20.00 hours (local time), Germany's air traffic control authority DFS said.
The decision to ease the flight ban was taken on the basis of the concentration of volcanic ash in atmosphere and the direction in which volcanic ash clouds from Iceland were drifting, according to a DFS spokesperson.

Only northward flights were allowed to take-off at the Frankfurt International Airport and regional Frankfurt Hahn airport, while landings and take-offs of easterly flights were cleared at two airports in Berlin and at Erfurt, Leipzig and Hannover airports.
The flight ban has now been extended until 2:00 pm (local time) today due to the cloud of volcanic ash over Europe.

The Berlin Tegel and Berlin Schonefeld airports were allowed to operate until midnight.
However, most of the airports had expressed scepticism about the effectiveness of the brief easing of the flight ban. Airport officials said they do not expect any significant revival of their operations, which are completely paralysed after the airspace was closed on Thursday.
They expressed the view that some airlines may use the period of relaxation for transporting their aircraft at the most.

Various airlines had also expressed doubts whether they could make use of the brief opening period even for clearing up their stranded passengers. According to the general view, it was very impractical to organise flights at such a short notice and for a short duration.

The European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol said the disruption of air travel worsened yesterday as more flights were grounded.
According to the agency's estimates, only around 4,000 European flights operated yesterday, compared to the normal level of 24,000 flights.

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