A Eurocontrol spokeswoman said nearly all of the continent’s 28,000 scheduled flights, including more than 300 flights on transatlantic routes, were expected to proceed. On Wednesday, about 80% of flights took place.
Airlines are clearing the backlog of uncompleted journeys, but thousands of travelers remain stranded around the world.
With millions of travelers stranded on both side of the Atlantic, and a plan in place to partially reopen air traffic routes over Europe, Eyjafjallajokull the Icelandic volcano threw a wrench in the plans. Now a fight is brewing about who will pay for the massive disruption. At its peak, the crisis affected 1.2 million passengers a day and 29 percent of all global aviation, according to the International Air Transport Association.
The International Air Transport Association estimated Wednesday that the Icelandic volcano crisis cost airlines more than $1.7 billion in lost revenue through Tuesday. Between Saturday and Monday, when disruptions were greatest, IATA said lost revenues reached $400 million each day.
Airlines had been stalled since last week with thousands of people living in airports unable to return home. Britain has dispatched Royal Navy ships to bring home stranded British Travelers. The last time Britain has dispatched a rescue flotilla was during World War II.
Many of the stranded tourists and business people are seeking other options in order to return to their daily lives. Trains, buses and ships to take them to somewhere that they will be able to catch a flight. However with so many people stranded, there are rumors that it may be weeks before everyone is able to fly to where they need to be.
Besides the visibility issue of the ash clouds, it has been determined that the powdery volcanic dust can clog air intake filters on planes and can cause substantial damage to aircraft engines even on a short flight. At this time there is no “defined safe limit” for volcanic ash. This makes it very difficult for officials to state when flights will be back to normal.
The flight disruptions have affected many high profile visits and activities of world leaders. President Obama and others were unable to attend the funeral services held on Sunday for the Polish President Lech Kaczynski.
Airlines and airports all over the world are experiencing the back up and confusion created by the thousands of canceled flights, stranded passengers, and volcanic activity.