Grounded Airlines Want Ban Lifted
After test flights, carriers push for reevaluation; UK hold extended
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2010 4:00 PM CDT
A passenger points at the flight information board at the departures terminal at the Prat Llobregat's airport, near Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 18, 2010.   (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

(Newser) – Some airlines have conducted their own test flights and want the ban on most flights over Europe ended, but UK airspace will remain closed until tomorrow evening at the earliest. Air Berlin, Air France/KLM, and Lufthansa have sent aircraft through the cloud of volcanic ash that's crippled air travel for 4 days, and the head of KLM tells the BBC he wants to "get permission as soon as possible to partially restart our operations."

The CEO of British Airways was a passenger on a test flight from Heathrow that landed in Cardiff, the Times of London reports. But the transport secretary, announcing the ban through 7pm tomorrow, said conditions would "not be safe for flights across most of northern Europe." The government is even considering using Royal Navy vessels to repatriate Britons stranded on the Continent.