Britain to resume flights Tuesday: authorities

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Britain will begin lifting a flight ban on Tuesday, starting from 7:00 am (0600 GMT) over Scotland and possibly moving further south later, air authorities said Monday.

British Airways meanwhile said it hoped to resume flights into and out of London, in the southest of England, from 7:00 pm (1800 GMT) Tuesday.

Latest forecasts suggest a "continuously improving situation" as the volcano in Iceland has stopped producing ash at altitudes which pose a risk to aircraft in British airspace, said the National Air Traffic Services (NATS).

Based on the latest weather forecasts, NATS says a flight ban should remain in place until 7:00 am (0600 GMT) on Tuesday, after which the airspace over Scotland will be opened.

After that any decisions would be based on updated weather information from the Met Office. "This is a dynamic and changing situation and is therefore difficult to forecast beyond 0700 local," it said.

"However, the latest Met Office advice is that the contaminated area will continue to move south with the possibility that restrictions to airspace above England and Wales, including the London area, may be lifted later" on Tuesday.

British Airways said it "will aim to resume some flights into and out of London's airports from 7:00 pm on Tuesday .. following the proposed reopening of UK and European airspace by the aviation authorities.

"We are working on detailed plans to help as many customers as possible who have been unable to fly due to the unprecedented circumstances .. in northern Europe over the last five days," it added.

The resumption of flights may be bumpy at first. BA said it has 80 aircraft and almost cabin crew and pilots out of position around the world, and all aircraft will need to be fully checked before being cleared to resume flying.

"Inevitably, this will mean some delays and we ask for our customers' patience and understanding in these very difficult circumstances," it added.

© 2010 AFP

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