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Flight crisis hits schools

PUBLISHED: 10:10 23 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:36 01 August 2010

A NEW headteacher missed her first day at school, while dozens of others were stuck abroad as local travellers joined the millions affected by the volcanic eruption in Ice-land.

A NEW headteacher missed her first day at school, while dozens of others were stuck abroad as local travellers joined the millions affected by the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

There was chaos worldwide for British holidaymakers this week as UK airspace was closed as an ash cloud descended over Europe.

Yesterday all airports re-opened, but there is still disruption to many flights in the country, with airports advising jetsetters to check with the airline before travelling.

The crisis has caused a com-motion at schools across the country as teachers were un-able to get back for the start of term on Monday.

Amongst those was Cassandra Williams, the new headteacher at Thurton Primary School, who was stuck in Hong Kong on the way back from her brother's wedding in Australia. The school said last night she was expected drop in today.

At Beccles Middle School there were 10 members of staff stranded abroad, including the assistant head, a number of cleaning staff, and the ITC technician. “It's definitely had an impact!” said headteacher David Baker, who is also head at Crowfoot Primary where three members of staff are missing. “It's not the easiest thing, but we're all mucking together to get on with it.”

Three teachers also missed the start of term at Sir John Leman High School in Beccles, and were all making their way back yesterday.

Grace Harvey, 19, of Bungay, was forced to miss a job inter-view because of the disruptions. She was on holiday in Majorca with her boyfriend and was due to travel back on Saturday but had to stay on nearly a week more as her flight was cancelled.

Luckily the couple were able to stay in the same accommodation, as the new guests booked into the room were also unable to travel, Miss Harvey's interview has been rearranged for today and she finally managed to get a flight yesterday.

Loddon journalist Mike Souter was stranded in Berlin, and said that he had tried to book a train home but gave up when his ticket said he was number 227 in the queue - and people at the front had been waiting nearly four hours.

Speaking earlier this week he said: “I have met people who have booked a hire car to Amsterdam to get the ferry to Newcastle, others who have taken the train to Calais and then a ferry. One of the huge problems here is for people who do not have a visa to enter Germany, they just have to sit it out at airports.”

An ex-pat from Halesworth contacted The Journal to say her friends, who live in the town and had been visiting her in Australia were stranded in Bangkok, but were being very well looked after.

Debbie Reeve said her friends flew out of Sydney last Thurs-day, and were halted at a stopover in Bangkok. Luckily they were taken to a hotel where they were given food and board for free.

The International Air Trans-port Association (IATA) said that at its height the crisis hit almost a third of global flights and reported that airlines have lost about £1.1bn of revenue as a result of the disruptions. It is estimated that it affected 1.2m passengers a day.

The first overseas flight into Norwich International Airport touched down on Wednesday night after no action for six days.

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