HUDDERSFIELD people remain stranded abroad as the deadline for planes taking to the skies again keeps getting pushed further and further back.
But one Huddersfield couple – honeymooners Matt and Deborah Washington – are getting a close-up view of what is causing the problem – they are in Iceland and can see the erupting volcano that is sending the ash into the air and across Europe’s skies.
Matt said: “We’re about 20 miles west of the volcano.
“We could see the plume of smoke yesterday morning, but it’s pretty much rained non-stop since then, so we can’t see anything!
“It’s all very exciting here. Some of the film crews are using our hotel as a base and we’ve had a coastguard helicopter parked out the front.
“The roads are closed to the east and there’s just been another flood warning issued, although we are not in any danger.
“Still holding out for a flight over the volcano, but I don’t think it’s going to happen as we go back to Reykjavik tomorrow.”
A Marsh mum is stranded in Tenerife for another week with her two children.
Gillian Hirst was due to fly home yesterday with daughter Amy, 12, and 14-year-old Joseph.
Once their Monarch flight was cancelled, they tried to rebook, but the seats were going incredibly quickly.
“We were all set to get a place on a plane next Thursday,” said Gillian. “But by the time we’d got the credit card details ready and were going to do the booking all the seats had gone.
“We are now on a flight next Friday. It’s strange because we were all prepared to come home.”
Gill’s husband, John, has stayed at home and the children were looking forward to seeing him yesterday – but that has now been put off for another week.
Both Joseph and Amy attend Royds Hall High in Paddock and Joseph was due to take part of his biology GCSE on Monday.
They are staying with grandparents John and Shirley Hirst at a flat in Tenerife.
Scholes cricketer Iqbal Khan – last season’s top batsman in the Drakes League Premiership – is unable to play this weekend as he is stuck on holiday in Turkey.
Restrictions preventing flights in England and Wales to protect aircraft from the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud will remain in place until at least 7am today.
But from 7pm yesterday, restrictions were lifted in a large part of Scottish airspace including Scottish airports, Shetland, Orkneys and also Northern Ireland.
Air passengers have been largely grounded since noon on Thursday following the eruption of Iceland’s Mount Eyjaffjallajokull.
Travellers unable to fly looked for alternative modes of transport.
Channel Tunnel high-speed train company Eurostar reported that its 58 services were full yesterday.
Many people took to ferries to reach the Continent.
P&O Ferries said it was unable to accept any further foot-passenger bookings before Monday “as a result of the unprecedented surge in demand due to the airline crisis”.
Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s director of operations and customer services, said: “We are doing everything we can to help passengers whose journeys have been disrupted by the volcanic ash cloud.
“We have reviewed all engineering work we have planned for the next few days and, where it will allow train operators to run existing or extra services, this work has been cancelled. This mainly applies to long-distance operators on the East and West Coast Main Lines and on routes to the Channel ports.”
More trains ran yesterday on the East Coast main line.
Dr Ashley Steel, global chairman for transport and infrastructure at professional services company KPMG, said: “This is yet another dramatic and costly event for the global aviation industry which will have a significant impact on annual revenues of airlines in the UK and Europe.
“For an airline like British Airways, every day their fleet is grounded is likely to cost tens of millions of pounds.”