Ferry operators can expect a few more days of inflated passenger numbers as airspace in western and northern Europe reopened last night.

The first aeroplane landed at Heathrow at around 10pm GMT but airline and airport operators admit it will take time for things to return to normal.

Since the airports closed last Thursday afternoon cross-channel ferries have seen a boom in passenger numbers as stranded travellers looked for alternative routes home.

The British Airports Authority said planes and crew are out of position meaning service will not instantly return to normal and not all flights will be operating.

Many operators have been putting on extra services and have even drafted cargo ships into help clear the backlog caused by the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland.