Luton Airport Volcano Disruption

15 April 2010, 08:15 | Updated: 21 April 2010, 06:08


Wednesday 21st April - Luton Airport Update

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UKs independent specialist regulator with oversight of aviation safety, has issued new guidance on the use of UK airspace.

The new guidance allows a phased reintroduction of much of the airspace which was closed due to the volcanic ash plume over the UK.

London Luton Airport is now operational for flight departures and arrivals, subject to airline schedules.

A high number of passengers are currently waiting for passage back to the UK from airports around the world. In addition, a substantial number of outbound passengers are awaiting transport home.

Now that the restrictions have been lifted the well-being of the passengers using the airport and our ability to provide them with the most efficient service possible is of paramount importance. In these special circumstances, London Luton Airport strongly requests passengers to observe sensible restrictions:

1. Only passengers with confirmed flight bookings for that day should travel to the airport.
2. Those people wishing to meet incoming passengers should consult the airport website before travelling to the airport and where possible make other arrangements to avoid congestion.
3. To contact the airline directly about revised schedules and the rebooking of previously cancelled flights.  It is likely that flight schedules will change in order to meet the increased demand.   Airline bookings must be made through the airlines themselves or by appropriate intermediaries.

The airport will issue regular updates as the situation develops. In the meantime and in the interests of all passengers, we ask those coming to the airport to respect these restrictions.

Wednesday 21st April - 06:00 Update

There are now virtually NO remaining no-fly zones in the UK, but it'll be a
busy day for airlines as they try to get schedules back to normal.

British Airways says it's looking to operate all long haul flights departing
from Heathrow and Gatwick. But it warns there''ll be short haul cancellations to and from London airports
until one o'clock.

Virgin Atlantic plans to operate a normal flying schedule, in and out of
Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.

BMI is to resume its services today with international and domestic flights
operating from nine o'clock this morning.

easyJet plans to restart some services across the UK and Europe this morning -
but it could take "several days" for normal operations to resume.

There's not such good news for Ryanair passengers. The airline's not operating
any flights in northern Europe until 1pm TOMORROW.

And ALLRyanair flights between Ireland and the UK have been cancelled until 1
o'clock on FRIDAY afternoon. The airline says it'll use these planes to operate
extra flights between Britain and Europe.

Air France says it hopes to resume operations out of Britain - however ALL of
its flights from London City airport are cancelled today.

There are NO KLM flights to or from the UK today.

And Iberia's cancelled all five flights to Heathrow.

Importantly, passengers flying today are being advised to contact their
airline before travelling to the airport. It's likely flight schedules will change in order to meet the increased
demand. There will also be delays and cancellations while airlines reposition aircraft
and crews.

Wednesday 21st April - 01:30 Monarch Update

Monarch will resume services from all UK airports from 04.00 on Wednesday 21 April.  Flights from Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham and Manchester will be operating and are available to book via

Monarch will operate a total of 75 scheduled flights between the UK and mainland Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands, Portugal, Cyprus and Gibraltar.  In addition, 19 charter services will operate to destinations including Goa, Sharm el Sheikh, the Maldives, Grenada and Tobago.

Flights operating from the UK will operate as standard Monarch operations and passengers holding bookings for these flights should proceed to the airport and check-in for these flights as normal.

Inbound flights will operate as repatriation flights.  Monarch passengers currently stranded overseas are able to book onto these flight via or by calling the Monarch Customer Contact Centre on 08719 40 50 40 (or +44 8719 40 50 40).  Only passengers holding an existing flight booking for a Monarch scheduled flight will be ale to book onto the repatriation flights.

Details on all flight schedules and information on how to transfer flight bookings can be found on

Tuesday 20th April - 21:45 Easyjet Update

easyJet to resume flying on 21 April 

Following the re-opening of airspace across the UK and Europe, easyJet plans to resume some services across the UK and Continental Europe from tomorrow morning. Due to the extent of the disruption, it will take several days to resume normal operations and delays are likely. Passengers booked on an easyJet flight tomorrow should go to before travelling to the airport to find the latest status of their flight.

To enable us to carry as many passengers as possible to their destinations, a revised check-in process will be effective from today until further notice.

Important notice to passengers:

Go to before you leave for the airport
This will always be the best place to find the latest updates on the disruption. Given the unique volcanic and weather patterns cancellations can happen at very short notice as well as reinstating flights so please ensure you visit the website immediately before you travel to the airport. If your flight is cancelled, do not travel to the airport.

Keep checking your e-mails
If your flight is cancelled you will receive an e-mail with information on your options.

Get to the airport early! Check-in closes 1 HOUR* before departure
Remember that airports will be very busy – make sure you leave plenty of time for check-in. Please note that check-in desks will close 1 HOUR* before departure, instead of the usual 40 minutes. This is to help us get as many disrupted passengers as possible transferred onto available flights home.

* Check-in closes 90 minutes before departure at Sharm El Sheikh (SSH), and Hurghada (HRG) airports.

Check in AT THE AIRPORT – no online boarding passes accepted
Online check-in has been temporarily suspended – you will not be able to travel using an online check-in boarding pass. ALL passengers MUST go to the airport check-in desks on arrival at the airport, even if you have already checked in online.  This will allow us to transfer as many disrupted passengers as possible on to available seats. 

Tuesday 20th April - 15.30 Ryanair Update

(A) Southbound flights from Spain, Southern Italy, Malta and Morocco continue as normal.

(B)  Southbound fights from South of France (Marseille) to resume Wednesday 21st April.

(C) Extra flights from Madrid to Canary Islands scheduled for Wed 21st April and Thursday 22nd April to move passengers from Canaries to Mainland.

(D) Flights cancellations in Northern Europe extended from 1300hrs Wed 21st April to 1300hrs Thur 22nd April.

(E)  Flights between Ireland and UK cancelled until 1300hrs Fri 23rd April to allow for extra flights from Ireland to Continental Europe and from UK to Continental Europe on Thursday 22nd April.

(F)  Revised handling procedures notified to all airports to eliminate a backlog of passengers as soon as normal flight schedules resume.

Ryanair today (Tue 20th April) at 1500hrs confirmed that based on current meteorological forecasts and the continuing emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere over Iceland, it continues to operate Southbound flights from Spain, Southern Italy, Malta and Morocco as scheduled.  From tomorrow Wed 21st April, Ryanair expects to resume Southbound flights from its Marseille base in the South of France as well.  Passengers holding reservations on these flights at these airports, should continue to present themselves at these airports as normal.

Ryanair has today (20 Apr) extended its cancellation of its Northern European flights (UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Poland, Baltic States and North Italy) from 1300hrs on Wed 21st April to 1300hrs on Thurs 22nd April.  In addition, Ryanair has decided to cancel all of its flights between Ireland and the UK until 1300hrs on Friday 23rd April in order to use these UK and Irish based aircraft to operate extra flights from the UK to Continental Europe; and from Ireland to Continental Europe from 1300hrs on Thurs 22nd April to clear any backlog of disrupted passengers travelling between Continental Europe, the UK and Ireland.  

Ryanair is announcing these decisions in order to give intending passengers as much notice as possible of the likely developments in European airspace over the coming two/three days.

Speaking on Tuesday, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

“Our latest analysis of meteorological forecasts and the volcanic ash clouds suggests that the situation across Northern Europe remains unchanged.  Ryanair continues to operate scheduled flights in Spain, Southern Italy, Malta and Morocco, and this will continue during Wed and Thurs.  We are also going to operate a number of extra flights between Madrid and the four Canary Islands (Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife) on Wed and Thurs to allow disrupted passengers the choice to return to Mainland Europe from the Canary Islands where they may continue their return journeys at their own discretion and expense.

“We remain hopeful that changing winds and a better analysis of the extent of these volcanic ash clouds will allow Ryanair to operate a substantial proportion of our scheduled flight operations in Northern Europe from 1300hrs on Thurs.  We have decided to cancel our scheduled operations between Ireland and the UK until 1300hrs on Friday, since most passengers travelling between Ireland and the UK can switch to coach and ferry alternatives, and this will allow us to reallocate these aircraft to operate extra flights between the UK and Continental Europe, and between Ireland and Continental Europe from 1300hrs on Thurs until 1300hrs on Friday, to try to clear any backlog of disrupted passengers between the UK and Europe and between Ireland and Europe.

“We presently hope to resume our full scheduled flight operations (subject only to ATC restrictions and weather forecasts) by 1300hrs on Friday 23rd April and we have issued instructions to all of our airports that our immediate priority will be to ensure that no seat operates empty, while there are backlogs of disrupted passengers wishing to travel.  Accordingly Ryanair will be operating extra flights on those routes where we believe there are significant numbers of disrupted passengers.  Ryanair will also be suspending all airport check-in and baggage fees during the initial days so that our handling agents can prioritise getting flights out on time and processing standby passenger lists.  Similarly, while we will consider all passenger requests for reimbursement of reasonable receipted expenses over the past week, any such reimbursement will be limited to the original air fare paid by each passenger.

“I again wish to apologise sincerely to all Ryanair passengers for the disruptions they have suffered over the past seven days, and to assure them that we are working around the clock to provide them with as much information as we can, as early as we can, in order to minimise the disruptions and inconvenience they are suffering.  We continue to prioritise the safety of our passengers, crews and aircraft both prior to and following their return to service.  Ryanair hopes to operate a number of test flights across Europe either late tomorrow (Wed 21st Apr) in order to verify and satisfy ourselves that it is safe to resume flight operations in Northern Europe on Thursday.

“As always all up to date information in Ryanair’s possession is communicated on our website and I urge all passengers to continue to monitor for details of extra flights and the resumption of scheduled services on their particular routes.”

Tuesday 20th April - 15.00 NATS Update

Statement from National Air Traffic Services 1500:

The situation regarding the volcanic eruption in Iceland remains dynamic and
the latest information from the Met Office shows that the situation will
continue to be variable.

Based on the latest Met Office information, part of Scottish and Northern
Irish airspace including Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh airports will
continue to be available from 1900 today to 0100 tomorrow, Wednesday 21 April,
and also south to Newcastle Airport. Glasgow and Teesside airports will
additionally become available in this time period.

Restrictions will remain in place over the rest of UK airspace below 20,000ft.

Flights above the ash cloud are now permitted in the UK; between 1900 today
and 0100 tomorrow, this will enable aircraft movements above 20,000ft in UK

We will continue to monitor Met Office information and the situation is likely
to change during the course of the day.

We will make a further statement at approximately 2100 today.

NATS is maintaining close dialogue with the Met Office and with the UK's
safety regulator, the CAA, in respect of the international civil aviation policy
we follow in applying restrictions to use of airspace.
We are working closely with Government, airports and airlines, and airframe
and aero engine manufacturers to get a better understanding of the effects of
the ash cloud and to seek solutions

Tuesday 20th April - 13.00 General Update

Just a handful of flights have taken off from some UK airports, as British
passengers struggle to get back to the UK.

Most of the UK's airspace remains shut, and cross-channel services are running
at capacity.

Restrictions have been relaxed at Newcastle as well as Aberdeen, Inverness and

We're expecting an update on the situation for the rest of the UK's airspace
this afternoon. (1500)

A Royal Navy ship's transporting British troops and up to 200 stranded
passengers from Santander in northern Spain to Portsmouth. (leaves 1430)

Two other vessels have been deployed to the continent.

Tuesday 20th April - 12.00

Glasgow Airport to close again at 13.00

Tuesday 20th April - 11.55 easyjet Update

Due to the uncertainty of the ongoing closure of air space in large parts of Europe, easyJet flights to / from Northern Europe, including the United Kingdom will be cancelled until 01:00hrs GMT on Wednesday 21 April. Safety is the airline’s top priority and we are working closely with regulators and the Government to ensure we can resume flying as soon as possible.

A limited number of flights will continue to operate in Southern Europe, and passengers who are booked to travel with easyJet are advised to visit before travelling to the airport.

Passengers who are booked to travel on a cancelled flight should not travel to the airport but should instead arrange either a full refund or a free transfer to another flight on the same route within 30 days of the original flight date through

Tuesday 20th April - 11.05 Monarch Airlines Update

Following Monarch's successful rescue flight from Palma today, the airline will be launching a second rescue flight today, Tuesday 20 April, and will fly 361 stranded passengers from Tenerife to Madrid, where they will be met by coaches and transferred back to the UK via Calais.

The Airbus A300 will operate from Tenerife at 12.30 with Monarch's longest stranded Tenerife passengers onboard.  These passengers have been contacted directly via SMS with details of the flight.

Commenting on Monarch's second rescue flight, Managing Director of Monarch Airlines, Tim Jeans said, "The response to Monarch's first rescue flight from Palma this morning was fantastic but we are well aware that we still have in excess of 8,000 passengers stranded on the Spanish Island's with no alternative means of getting back to the UK.  With the opening of UK airspace still uncertain over the coming days, our decision to operate the second rescue flight to Madrid and coach passengers back to the UK has been taken to ensure that the repatriation of our passengers happens as quickly and efficiently as possible via mainland Spain, until we are able to fly them directly back to the UK".

In addition to the two rescue flights from Palma and Tenerife, the Monarch Travel Group has also mobilised a fleet of coaches from Malaga, Alicante and Faro to bring stranded passengers from mainland Europe back to the UK.

Monarch currently operates a fleet of 30 aircraft, serving over 100 destinations world-wide.  Services are split between scheduled and charter flights, with the airline carrying almost 7 million passengers per year.  Monarch is the oldest airline in the UK still operating under its original brand name, and will this year enter its 42nd year of flying.

In addition to flights, The Monarch Travel Group also offer a huge range of great value holidays, accommodation and coach touring options and will be utilising its expertise in these areas to facilitate the ground transportation for this rescue operation.

Tuesday 20th April - 11.00 National Update

More than half of planned flights are expected to operate across Europe today -
although very few of these will be in the UK.

The only airports which are open here are in Scotland and Newcastle Airport.

The flight ban may be lifted elsewhere this evening, we'll get an update from
air traffic control officials later.

Monday 19th April

The ban on flights in UK airspace has been extended until 1am tomorrow.

Saturday 17th April

Restrictions on flights in and out of the UK will remain in place until at
least 1am tomorrow but some domestic flights may be able to take off from
Scotland and Northern Ireland - air traffic control company Nats.

Friday 16th April

Britain remains a no fly zone today with the vast majority of flights grounded until at least 7 tonight because of the volcanic ash from Iceland.

The National Air Traffic Service is reviewing the latest weather forecasts and
plans to announce at about 8-30 this morning whether to extend the flying ban
until 1 o'clock tomorrow morning.

Thursday 15th April

If you're flying from Luton airport expect delays and cancellations as a volcano in Iceland pushes a load of ash into the sky.

Flights to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast have been cancelled this morning as the airports there have been forced to close.

Some European flights have also been cancelled.

RyanAir has said ALL it's flights will be suspended from Luton from 9am.

Elsewhere, cancellations have also occurred at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester, with further delays at Stansted and City.

British airways has cancelled its domestic services... while Monarch's suspended ALL its flights.

Passengers are being told to check with their airlines before leaving.

For more information go to