UPDATE: Europe's busiest airport is open - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Europe's busiest airport is open

LONDON (AP) -- Europe's busiest airport is open, but that doesn't mean things are back to normal.

A jetliner from Vancouver, British Columbia, was the first to land at London's Heathrow airport since a volcano in Iceland erupted last week creating air traffic gridlock over Britain and much of Europe. Other British Airways flights scheduled to land originated from the U.S., Africa and Asia.

Officials say it will be weeks before all stranded travelers could be brought home.

The government advised Britons to remain in close contact with their airline. Those in Europe were told to make their way to a Channel port.


LONDON (AP) -- Britain's government says U.K. airports will reopen Tuesday, as European terminals lurched back to life while the danger from Iceland's volcanic ash plume eased.

The Transport Secretary says all British airports would reopen allowing passenger services into the U.K. to resume. Britain's Civil Aviation Authority said all U.K. airspace would reopen at the same time.

British Airways said it hoped to land as many as 25 flights Tuesday evening -- from the United States, Africa and Asia into London.

But forecasters said more delays to flights bound for Europe were possible. Airspace in Germany remained largely closed but about 800 flights were allowed to fly at low altitude.


LONDON (AP) -- Stranded travelers hoping to get a break from the chaos in the skies over Europe are still finding major problems caused by the volcanic ash cloud hanging over parts of the continent.

Many European flights took to the skies today for the first time in days. But London's airports are still shut, a massive flight backlog is growing and scientists are afraid there could be yet another volcanic eruption in Iceland.

London's airports are likely to stay closed until tomorrow, and forecasters say more delays are possible if the dense ash cloud remains over much of the country. Also, German airspace remains officially closed until this evening. A limited number of flights were allowed in at low altitude.

Air traffic officials expect a little over half of the flights in Europe to go ahead today. Eurocontrol predicts close to normal takeoffs by Friday.

But with more than 95,000 flights canceled in the last week alone, airlines face the enormous task of working through the backlog to get passengers where they want to go.


REYKJAVIK, Iceland (WKOW) -- Airplanes are gradually taking to the skies Tuesday after five days of being grounded by the drifting ash from an Icelandic volcano that has crippled European air space.

At one point on Monday, the volcano's eruptions were said to be weakening but by Monday night the plume seemed to intensify and it became unclear how long newly reopened airports in northern Europe would be able to remain operational.

The Eurocontrol air traffic agency in Brussels said it expected some 55 to 60 percent of flights over Europe to go ahead on Tuesday, a marked improvement over the last few days.

Still, an international pilots group warned that ash remains a danger and meteorologists say Iceland's still-erupting volcano isn't ready to rest yet, promising more choked airspace and flight delays to come.

A Eurocontrol map showing the ash cloud on Tuesday listed only the airspace between Iceland and Britain and Ireland as a no-fly zone, along with much of the Baltic Sea and surrounding area.


REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) -- Scientists say a volcanic ash cloud keeping most of Britain's air space closed is due to a change in the wind, not a new burst from Iceland's volcano.

Gudrun Nina Petersen of the Icelandic Meteorological Office says volcanic ash that was drifting over the North Sea is being pulled back over Britain by winds from both the northeast and northwest.

The volcano in southern Iceland is still spewing smoke and lava, but the ash plume is lower than it previously was, posing less threat to high-flying aircraft.

Airplanes across Europe are gradually taking to the skies after five days of being grounded by the drifting volcanic ash. But British officials say London airports are likely to remain closed for another day.


PARIS (AP) -- Some planes are flying after five days of being grounded by the drifting volcanic ash from an eruption in Iceland, but British officials say London airports will likely remain closed another day.

A statement from the British National Air Traffic Service early today says the eruption "has strengthened and a new ash cloud is spreading" toward Britain.

London is a major hub for thousands of daily flights worldwide and the drifting volcanic ash has crippled European air travel.

The Eurocontrol air traffic agency in Brussels says it expects some 55 to 60 percent of flights over Europe to go ahead today.

An international pilots group warned that ash remains a danger and safety, not economics should be the main driving factor.


GENEVA (AP) -- The World Health Organization says the ash cloud over Europe poses no health risk beyond areas close to the volcano in Iceland.

Dr. Carlos Dora of WHO says air quality monitoring shows pollution from the ash cloud isn't arriving at ground level in most of Europe.

The message was in stark contrast to WHO's warning last week that Europeans should stay indoors if ash from the volcano starts settling because of potential dangers related to inhalation.

Other experts weren't convinced the volcanic ash would have a major effect on health and said WHO's warning was overblown.

Dora said Tuesday the plume could thin out high up in the air and no longer be a problem.

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