LIVERPOOL John Lennon airport was operating at around 90% of its normal capacity yesterday.
There were around 55 departures, compared with its usual 65, with the same number of inbound flights.
Just under 10,000 passengers went through the terminal yesterday – with 5.661 departures and 4.327 arrivals.
One extra “repatriation flight” was laid on by Easyjet to bring passengers stranded by the volcanic ash cloud back to the UK from Malaga. Two more are due to be operated by Ryanair today, from Malaga and Tenerife.
John Lennon airport spokesman Robin Tudor said: “With the exception of some Irish and domestic flights, we were up to 90% of our normal operations.
“It has been quite an emotional day, with so many reunions and a lot of relief all round. Easyjet is encouraging people to check in earlier because more might be processing through.
“But none of us are counting our chickens just yet and it is still very much a watching brief.
“There are still people overseas waiting to come back and we suspect that will continue to be the case going into next week, as some destinations don’t go every day.
“There are still restrictions out there, it is just not affecting the majority of UK airports. It will continue to be business as usual for the foreseeable future.”
Meanwhile, judging for the prestigious John Moores painting prize at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery took place on both sides of the Atlantic after volcanic ash grounded two of the judges.
For the first time in the history of the competition, judges sat thousands of miles apart as they sifted through entries.
Both Sir Norman Rosenthal and Goshka Macuga found themselves stranded in America when their flights were cancelled. Instead, their selection – from almost 3,000 entrants – was made online. They maintained communications with the other jurors, who were also viewing the works digitally, and organisers to ensure their opinions were heard.
Angela Samata, John Moores Project Manager, said: "The period for judging the John Moores is extremely tight. With only six weeks between both stages it was crucial that we found a way to work around not having all five judges together.
"We made sure that both Sir Norman and Goshka were able to view all of the entrants in a specially built online gallery. It was also very important we kept in contact with them during judging, keeping them up to date on the progress of the selection in London and the debates some of the paintings provoked.
With a first prize of £25,000, the John Moores competition is Britain’s biggest painting prize. It is now in its 52nd year.