PASSENGERS spoke of their relief as flights began to touch down at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
A total of 30 departures and 25 arrivals took place at the airport yesterday – just under half the usual amount.
Even more flights were expected to take off and land today, ending days of misery caused by the volcanic ash. Some of the people arriving home had been stranded for five days with no idea of when, or how, they would get home.
Steve and Eva Lamin, from Tarleton, landed just after 4pm from Naples, where they had been on holiday. The couple, who were due to come home last Friday, were desperate to get back to their 11-year-old son Mark, who has been staying with his grandmother.
Steve, a headteacher at Kingsfold Christian School in Hesketh Bank, said: “The most difficult thing has been not knowing if this flight was going to go. The night before it was looking like we were going to have to wait another week.”
Eva added: “People have been stressed and anxious about getting home so to finally make it is fantastic.”
Ruth and Peter Balmer, from Preston, had also been to Naples with their friends Jean and John Robinson, from Kendle. Ruth said: “We were due to come back on Sunday, but we heard what had happened on the TV. I’m a nursery nurse and have to get back to work, so we thought we would have to drive.” Peter added: “It’s been stressful and it’s cost us a lot of money. We had insurance but I don’t think we’re going to get much back. We’re just so relieved to be home.”
ECHO journalist Alan Weston endured an epic journey back from a press holiday in Malta. Alan, from Oxton, Wirral, said; “We set off from our hotel in Malta at 11.30pm on Saturday and I just got home at 4pm yesterday. It's been a hell of an adventure.You never think you'll be caught up in a major international incident.”
The first flight took off from the airport at 6am yesterday, with easyJet, Flybe, Wizz Air and Eastern Airways all operating again.
Ryan Air flights were due to start this morning. JLA spokesman Robin Tudor, said: “Today should be fairly close to what would be a normal Thursday. It’s been an ever-changing situation but we expect today to be very busy.”