After several hundred flights were canceled in Germany this morning, the sky over continental Europe (where it is now Wednesday afternoon) is on its way back to clear, and airports are opening up once more, the latest news reports are saying. Authorities had warned as many as 700 flights would be canceled today as the enormous ash plume from Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano made air travel unsafe over Germany. But according to the Associated Press and others, that cloud is blowing east and north as the eruption winds down.
"There were very few eruptions by the volcano over the last six to 12 hours so the volcano is in a reasonably calm state at the moment," said Brian Flynn, head of network operations for Eurocontrol. "Assuming that continues, we would expect that the European aviation would be able to return to almost a normal situation within the next 24 hours."
The BBC reported today that all 700 flights slated for cancellation had been grounded as Breman, Hamburg, and Berlin all closed their airports. All have reopened, most recently Berlin, at 2 p.m. local time, and the European air traffic agency Eurocontrol has said there are no other flight restrictions in Europe.
Volcanic ash can be devastating to jet engines, which suck it in and then stall when it builds up on their blades. In spring, 2010, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in Iceland, causing months of havoc for European air travel.