Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Ryanair back on the runway as normality slowly returns

Ryanair flights will today take to the skies above Northern Ireland for the first time since the Icelandic volcanic ash crisis.

The budget airline’s flights — set to resume at 5am — are the first full scheduled services from George Best Belfast City Airport since UK air space was closed last week.

The no-frills company is the last airline to resume flights in Northern Ireland.

On Tuesday night, flights started landing in the UK after a six-day shutdown of UK airspace with schedules slowly turning back to normal.

A spokesman for George Best Belfast City Airport last night said: “All airlines are now operating with the exception of Ryanair which will commence services tomorrow, starting with their flight to Stansted, London.”

Belfast International Airport said the vast majority of flights, including air cargo, operated yesterday “with the exception of a very small number of cancellations”.

The spokeswoman was “hopeful” the full service would be back to normal today, but still asked passengers to check websites.

“While activity is returning to normal, our best advice still remains for intending passengers to refer directly to airline websites for the most up-to-date information in relation to their flight, paying particular attention to temporary check-in procedures and aiming to arrive promptly once a decision has been taken to travel to the airport,” the spokeswoman said.

Services to and from City of Derry Airport are also expected to operate normally today.

Following the massive disruption — which was estimated to have affected 1.2 million passengers a day worldwide — airlines were making extra seats available.

Ryanair last night said it had scheduled a number of additional flights from the Republic to Europe and from the UK to Europe to allow stranded passengers to return home.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary said passengers who have been disrupted now have the option of transferring onto the extra flights free of charge using the Manage My Booking system.

He added: “A limited number of seats will be available to passengers who previously selected a refund from Ryanair, but still find themselves disrupted, for a discounted one-way fare of £100 (plus taxes and charges) on www.ryanair.com,” he said.

Aer Lingus also confirmed that all flights between the Republic and the UK, Europe and US are scheduled to operate today.

Meanwhile, easyJet was yesterday flying a full schedule of 1,100 flights. The company also offered 13 additional rescue flights today to destinations where large numbers of customers are stranded.

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