Passengers relieved as flights resume in Paris
Relieved passengers boarded their planes and long-delayed travellers touched down at last at Paris's two main airports on Tuesday after five days of closure due to volcanic ash.
As services gradually resumed, Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau said that 30 percent of scheduled national and international flights would fly from Paris's main airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly on Tuesday.
Among these, three-quarters of long-haul flights from these airports will begin running "progressively ... over the course of the day", Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo told RTL radio.
Air France said that its long distance flights from the two Paris airports would return to "normal service". It said flights from Paris to destinations in other European countries would resume from noon (1000 GMT).
The first load of passengers took off from Charles de Gaulle at 8:00 am (0600 GMT) bound for Algiers, as others waited to board their delayed flights or to meet loved ones finally returning home.
"I'm relieved. At last they're arriving in Paris," said Boris, waiting in the arrivals hall to greet his family off the plane from Abidjan.
"I am happy, I'm going to see my wife again," said another young man, Conrade, after stepping off the Abidjan flight.
"We are flying planes under special safety conditions, but we remain in a crisis situation," Borloo said. Ash from the still-rumbling volcano lingers in the skies over Europe.
Bussereau, citing figures from the DGAC civil aviation authority, said 564 flights would leave from Charles de Gaulle and 272 from Orly on Tuesday.
© 2010 AFP