North East flights get back to normal after ash cloud disruption

The arrivals board at Newcastle Airport was bleak reading for passngers yesterday.

The arrivals board at Newcastle Airport was bleak reading for passngers yesterday.

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FLIGHTS are expected to resume today after a volcanic ash cloud cleared UK airspace.

Frustrated travellers were grounded yesterday when services were hit in the North East, Scotland and Northern Ireland and 500 flights were cancelled across Europe.

UK air traffic control company Nats said harmful concentrations of ash look to have dispersed overnight – but some flights within the UK and Germany will be cancelled.

Disruption at Newcastle International and Durham Tees Valley airports caused a nightmare for passengers.

A flight from Newcastle to Dubai was halted just minutes before take off when ash descended over North East airspace. Passengers were told they must disembark and were taken to Manchester Airport by bus for a later flight.

Chris Laws, 29, and Zara Waters, 24, from Chester Road, Sunderland, missed their connecting flight from Dubai to Bangkok. They had saved up all year for their trip.

Chris, who works in marketing, said: “We were sat on the plane, ready to take off. If we had taken off five minutes earlier, we would have been in the air by now. We just couldn’t believe it when the pilot said we wouldn’t be able to take off.

“He practically had his foot on the pedal, ready for take off. We thought we were well on our way.

“We are just so disappointed, we have saved for this the past year, it’s just so disheartening.”

The eruption of Grimsvotn volcano in Vatnajokull National Park began on Saturday and comes just over a year after Eyjafjallajökull erupted, causing similar problems.

Passengers are also being encouraged to take other modes of transport to reach their destination.

DFDS Seaways was encouraging travellers to make journeys to Europe and Scandinavia by sea.

John Crummie, passenger director North Sea for DFDS Seaways, said: “For travellers trying to reach Europe and Scandinavia, DFDS Seaways’ Newcastle-Amsterdam and Harwich-Esbjerg routes remain unaffected by the volcanic ash cloud.”

Independent financial research firm Defaqto advised holidaymakers to check insurance.

Mike Powell, Defaqto’s Insight Analyst for General Insurance, said: “The Icelandic volcanic eruption could potentially impact many holidaymakers over the coming days.

“A key issue is the extent to which someone’s travel insurance policy will cover them for any disruption they suffer as a result.”