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Breaking News: Emirates resumes flights to UK

Flight EK001 is first to depart Dubai for Heathrow in seven days.
NEWS, Aviation

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Gulf-based airlines were gearing up on Wednesday to resume flights to the UK for the first time in seven days following the chaos caused by the Icelandic volcano eruption.

Emirates Airline said it would try to operate as many flights as possible and "based on expected airspace availability" would fly to London Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow throughout the day.

Its early morning departures to London were cancelled but the Dubai carrier was able to relaunch UK services with its 7.45am flight to Heathrow, which departed about 30 minutes late.

However the airline added that it would not accept any new passengers for travel to the UK and Germany until Friday at the earliest.

"This is in order to facilitate the travel of a significant number of customers currently in Dubai awaiting onward connections to Europe. The policy is in effect until 23rd April," the airline said in a statement posted on its website.

Etihad Airways said it had cancelled early flights to Manchester, Dublin and Frankfurt on Wednesday but added it would "resume flights whenever possible".

Qatar Airways also grounded early services to Heathrow, Munich, Frankfurt, Manchester, Gatwick and Berlin

The resumption of UK flights comes following a decision by UK authorities to start lifting restrictions on Tuesday night, after new guidance from the UK’s safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority.

Air traffic control services have resumed in the UK with the exception of an area over the north west of Scotland which continues to be affected by a dense concentration of volcanic ash.

On Tuesday, Emirates president Tim Clark said that the airline's $66m losses incurred during the ash cloud disruption would not be covered by insurance but added that the airline was in good shape to cope with a two-week shutdown.

"We will just have to live with that," Clark said, adding that the carrier would not increase fares in an effort to recoup losses caused by the volcano eruption. "We don't need funds, we are in good shape. If it goes on for two weeks we can handle it."

He told reporters in Dubai that the European aviation industry would "implode" if the airspace shutdown continued for three months.

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