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Norwich holidaymakers arrive home

PUBLISHED: 08:44 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:55 02 July 2010

Jon Welch

Passengers were relieved to be home after the first overseas flight for six days landed at Norwich International Airport. Almost all flights across Europe, including from Norwich, were expected to go ahead today as scheduled.

Passengers were relieved to be home after the first overseas flight for six days landed at Norwich International Airport.

Almost all flights across Europe, including from Norwich, were expected to go ahead today as scheduled.

But as airports try to restore normality, holidaymakers spoke of the uncertainty that had blighted their holidays.

The Viking Airways charter flight from Funchal, Madeira touched down at Norwich airport last night. On board were 148 passengers including many local holidaymakers, along with others from elsewhere in the country.

Most had avoided the air chaos of the past week, having flown out to the island last Wednesday, a day before the flight ban was imposed, and returned yesterday as planned.

The return flight was delayed however, touching down nearly five hours late at just before 10pm.

Diana Mason, 67, of New Costessey, said: “We went out last Wednesday and so it didn't really affect us, although there was some anxiety about coming home. We had a wonderful holiday, though.”

Her husband Terry, 60, said: “We're retired and don't have children at school and didn't have to be at work, so we were fortunate. We were talking to a couple who were schoolteachers in Oxford and had children about to sit exams, so we felt for them.”

Malcolm Whitwood, 59, of Overstrand, near Cromer, who was on holiday with his wife Susan, 55, said: “I'm really sick we couldn't have had a few more days for nothing. I work for myself so it wouldn't have been a problem.

“It didn't really affect us. We just stayed in the hotel until it was time to come away.”

There were a number of other flights in and out of Norwich yesterday but services are expected to get back to normal today after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said all British airports could re-open from 10pm on Tuesday night. Some delays could be possible and passengers are being urged to check with their airlines.

Some 150,000 Britons have been stranded abroad in the wake of an eruption from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland that has thrown an enormous cloud of potentially hazardous ash into airspace over northern Europe.

It is estimated nearly seven million passengers in total have been affected by the blanket bans on flying, which governments have insisted are necessary on safety grounds.

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