Virgin Atlantic, Emirates and Qatar Airways are among the carriers who have announced that they will resume flights to London Heathrow after British authorities opened all airports in the UK on the evening of April 20, while Qantas will today operate its first flights.
Following a successful test flight by a British Airways 747, the UK CAA made an adjustment to its Revised Airspace Guidelines, effectively clearing the way for airports around the UK to open, with Heathrow opening at 10pm GMT on April 20. Some areas of high ash concentration remain no-fly zones, but these are understood not to be causing disruptions to arrivals and departures around the country.
In response, a number of airlines serving Australia have announced that they will resume services to Heathrow and other airports in the UK, with the first focus on clearing passenger backlogs which have seen airports such as Singapore, Bangkok and Dubai fill with passengers unable to catch their connecting flights to Europe.
Qantas has announced that a number of special flights from London to Australia and from Asia to London and Frankfurt will operate on April 21. The airline will then re-commence regular scheduled services between Australia and Europe on April 22, while additional flights will also be added to clear the backlog of passengers, which the airline says could take between two and three weeks.
““I would like to thank our customers for their patience during this time,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement. “We are working on providing supplementary services to help clear the backlog and we will let our customers know as soon as possible.”
Qantas has advised passengers booked on cancelled flights not to proceed to the airport but to wait for the airline to make contact with them.