Airport to remain closed until 1pm

FLIGHTS from Stansted Airport will remain grounded this morning as a result of eruption of the volcano in Iceland.

Last night, air traffic control company NATS ordered that flights from all airports in the UK remain grounded until 1pm.

It will be the second day of disruption to flights in and out of the Essex airport due to the cloud of volcanic ash and dust being carried from Iceland in the upper atmosphere.

Yesterday, passengers understood the situation quickly and left the airport once they understood the situation.

A spokesman for the airport said: “I think the situation became well-known fairly quickly and people understood what was happening.

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“The overwhelming majority accepted that the decision had been taken for safety reasons and were very understanding.

“They then left the airport to go home or to somewhere else – it is now very quiet here. It all feels rather strange.”

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He had just returned from the main terminal which was much quieter than normal.

“At the moment the airport is just waiting to hear what will happen next – we have no idea how long the situation is going to last or when we can expect flights to start again. It is a very strange situation for us all,” he added.

People with tickets booked should contact their airlines to find out what they should do next, he added.

Meanwhile some passengers were facing a night in the airport lounge as they desperately scrambled to reschedule their trips – although many were disappointed to find flights were already fully booked.

Bride-to-be Sonal Valani, 24, was due to jet to Majorca with eight of her friends for a long weekend of hen party hi-jinks.

The Newham council worker from east London, who is due to marry Naresh Varsani, had to cancel the trip after discovering they could not get seats on flights today.

She said: “We have had to call it all off. We tried to re-book for tomorrow but it was fully booked. We heard about the ash on the radio on the way here so we were a bit worried. It’s a bizarre reason to have to cancel your holiday. We were going to go clubbing, go to pool bars and go shopping but it’s all off now.”

Fiona Dyke from Wisbech in Cambridgeshire was due to fly out to Barcelona with her family to celebrate her 16th birthday.

Her mum Lesley, 43, a school cleaner who is travelling with her husband Kevin, said: “We were due to go to Barcelona this morning at 10am as a birthday treat for Fiona. “Fiona’s never been to Barcelona but we took our eldest daughter there for her sweet 16th, we really love it there. We are trying to be hopeful that we can go tomorrow but we can see why the flights have been cancelled. I don’t understand the science but I wouldn’t want to get on a plane unless it was safe.”

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