London's Heathrow International Airport, one of the world's busiest for cargo and passenger routings, reopened for business April 20 as European airports resumed operations after being shut for nearly a week by smoke and ash rising from an Icelandic volcano.
The announcement by the U.K.'s Civil Aviation Authority came as airports in Paris, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam, the continent's three busiest cargo airports, returned to some level of normalcy. FedEx Express, the air express unit of FedEx Corp., restarted service at its hub at Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport with one flight to its main air hub in Memphis and seven flights departing the United States for Paris. Freight from the company's Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions is also being flown into Paris, the company said.
FedEx Express said it is moving freight on a "first in/first out" basis and is not accepting non-overnight or "deferred" international freight at this time. It cautioned that it will take time to clear the backlog of cargo and that customers should expect delivery delays. It also urged customers whose goods require "special attention," such as perishables and temperature-controlled shipments, to hold their cargoes until normal flight schedules are resumed.
UPS Inc. said in a statement on its website that intercontinental air shipments to and from the Americas, Asia, and Africa continue to experience delays. For intercontinental shipments, UPS said it is using "non-impacted" European airports and its ground network to ship as much cargo as possible to its final destination.
Intra-European express volume has been affected to a much lesser extent, UPS said, adding that it is diverting shipments to its ground network to make deliveries.