Air France, Lufthansa fly Europe, not London

Flights out of India to Europe resumed with a trickle as two foreign carriers operated a flight each.

Updated: Apr 21, 2010, 00:27 AM IST

New Delhi: Flights out of India to Europe
resumed with a trickle on Tuesday as two foreign carriers,
Lufthansa and Air France, operated a flight each, after
volcanic ash disrupted air traffic for six days.

Indian carriers, which primarily operate to London,
Brussels and Frankfurt, were awaiting clearances from
authorities at these airports to allow them resume flights.

Air France and Lufthansa became the first airlines to
resume services to Europe from India today.

An Air France flight from Delhi left for Amsterdam,
instead of Paris, in the wee hours, carrying only those
passengers who were willing to go to the Dutch capital instead
of Paris and take alternate modes of transport to their final

Lufthansa`s morning Delhi-Munich flight left as per
schedule and the German carrier announced that all other
flights out of Delhi, Mumbai would operate on time. Munich
airport opened for limited operation today, a statement said.

The German carrier said it had resumed long distance
flights out of Germany today, including all flights to India.
Lufthansa flights arriving at their Indian destinations today
would return to Germany tonight.

A spokesperson for Austrian airlines also said its
Delhi-Vienna flight would leave in the wee hours tomorrow as

Officials of Jet Airways, Air India and Kingfisher
held a series of meetings with the Director General of Civil
Aviation (DGCA) on the possibility of resuming flights to
London as there were indications that Heathrow airport was to
be made operational for limited hours from tonight.

However, there was no clearance from Heathrow
or other airport authorities till late evening.

A British Airways spokesperson said they had not
received any confirmation on the issue.

Jet Airways, which had planned to launch its London
operations by flying out of Delhi and Mumbai this afternoon,
failed to get clearances from Heathrow as well as an alternate
airport, airline sources said. Passengers were called to the
airport but not boarded.

Air India has planned to deploy aircraft held at
London airport to operate one flight each to Delhi and Toronto
tomorrow, subject to clearances for flying stranded
travellers. It may also fly one flight to London from Mumbai.

Two of AI`s Boeing-777s are stuck at Heathrow and one
each were stationed at Frankfurt, Chicago and New York.

About 6,000 Europe-bound passengers have booking with
Jet Airways while around 3,000 have with Air India.

A Kingfisher official said it would take a decision
only after getting the latest update from Eurocontrol, which
provides air navigation services throughout Europe.