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Local transport providers working to help affected air passengers

19 April, 2010 - by Westminster

Transport Minister, Conor Murphy, today said that local transport providers are working hard to deliver rail, bus and ferry services to aid passengers affected by the volcanic ash situation.

The Minister said: “I have been receiving updates from the key agencies responding to the challenges posed by this situation and those transport bodies who are trying to facilitate alternative travel arrangements for those affected.

“Additional cross channel coach services are being operated by Translink in conjunction with Scottish Citylink, National Express and Eurolines.  Translink is also working closely with P&O and Stena Line to deliver additional rail and bus services in order to meet the high demand from passengers coming off the ferries in Larne Harbour and Belfast.

“The ferry companies have allocated additional booking staff to assist air passengers affected and although peak daytime sailings are heavily booked, there is still spare capacity on Stena Line overnight sailings and on the Larne routes.

“I am receiving regular updates from the Department of Transport in London and the National Air Traffic Service on the latest position regarding flight restrictions.  I have also been in contact with Noel Dempsey, my counterpart in the South and am also receiving updates on the position within Irish airspace. The Department of Transport in Dublin advises that all their ports are open, providing options for passengers who may wish to travel to or from the North to the Continent.

“My officials will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with transport providers to ensure we have the capacity to accommodate the additional demand on Ferry, Bus and Rail services.”

Information for travellers is available through the NIDirect website with links to all of the key government, airline and airport websites. This contains travel updates, advice for stranded passengers and consumer rights information in relation to travel insurance and passenger compensation.

The latest information from NATS is that local airspace is closed until 0100 hrs on Tuesday at least. All flights from airports in the North have been cancelled except for the Manx airline service from George Best Belfast CityAirport to the Isle of Man and Blackpool.

Notes to editors:

1. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Regional Development Press Office on 02890 540817. Out of hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.

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