Europe’s three largest cargo airports – Frankfurt, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol – reopened Tuesday after a five-day shutdown.
Around 14,000 flights, or 50 percent of the normal number, are expected to fan out across Europe April 20 after the lifting of bans imposed after ash from an erupting Icelandic volcano blanketed large swaths of the continent.
But London Heathrow, Europe’s largest airport and fourth largest cargo hub, is closed as most of the UK will remain a no-fly zone until 1 a.m. local time at the earliest.
Lufthansa got special permission to operate around 200 flights today within Europe and to long haul destinations including New York and Miami.
As aircraft return to the skies, carriers have criticized European governments for the way they closed the airspace.
The decision was made “with no risk assessment, no consultation, no co-ordination, no leadership,” according to Giovanni Bisignani, head of the International Air Transport Association.
European Union officials concede that many of the flights grounded by national governments would have taken place under U.S. safety rules.
Around 95,000 flights have been grounded since no-fly zones were introduced on April 15, according to Eurocontrol, the pan-European air traffic control agency.
Contact Bruce Barnard at firstname.lastname@example.org.