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Lufthansa resumes long haul air traffic

BERLIN, Apr 19 – German flag carrier Lufthansa announced late Monday a resumption of long-haul flights after a suspension caused by a cloud of volcanic ash that shut down European airspace for days.

"Lufthansa will operate its long-haul flights immediately," the group announced on its website.

It said that late Monday "all long-haul flights with only few exceptions as well as some intra-European and domestic flights will take place."

On Tuesday "all long distance flights are expected to be operated on schedule" and some flights within Germany were planned, Lufthansa said.

However other domestic and intra-European flights were cancelled until at least 18:00 GMT, it said.

Authorities meanwhile announced they had extended the closure of German airspace by 12 hours until 1200 GMT Tuesday, except for flights such as Lufthansa\’s taking advantage of special permission from German authorities.

In line with special procedures, pilots would fly visually rather than relying on instruments, and would be under the direction of air traffic controllers until German airspace was completely reopened, a spokesman told AFP.

Lufthansa said earlier Monday it had received special permission to fly 15,000 passengers home from Asia, North and South America and Africa who were stranded due to the volcanic ash cloud over Europe.

A spokeswoman for Lufthansa, Europe\’s biggest airline in terms of passenger numbers, said 50 long-haul flights were given "exceptional permission" to land in Frankfurt, Munich and Duesseldorf on Tuesday from destinations around the world.

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She stressed the flights were exceptions and "not a return to normal flight service".

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