Cross-channel ferries from the UK were reporting increased passenger numbers as holidaymakers tried to make alternative travel arrangements after airplanes were grounded due to ash spread by the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

As of midday, local time, no planes were allowed to take off due to fears that the ash could cause engine damage.

Brittany Ferries said people were hastily rearranging holiday plans, with Spain being amongst the most popular destinations, according to the BBC.

P&O Ferries said passengers did not want to run the risk of prolonged closures to airports.

The air traffic control service said it was unlikely any planes would depart before 6pm and the situation was unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future.