Wing to resume air operations, other delays continue
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Flight operations at the 86th Airlift Wing resumed here April 21 following the opening of German air space and a successful test flight.
Germany's officials opened the airspace at approximately 2 p.m., allowing wing officials to later launch a C-130J "weather ship" plane in the area. At approximately 5:30 p.m., maintenance personnel completed the aircraft inspection, deemed a success, allowing air operations to begin immediately following.
Despite the cancellation of more than a dozen flights and many more rescheduled over the six-day restriction, the overall impact to the wing's flying operations has been minimal, according to Air Force Col. Tim Budd, 86th Operations Group commander.
While flight operations have resumed at Ramstein, Air Mobility Command aircraft diverted to southern staging locations will continue some operations out of Naval Station Rota and Moron Air Base, Spain, for several days or longer to help return the status of air travel back to "normal."
Officials remind personnel that flights in and out of Ramstein as well as commercial flights at Frankfurt will also resume in a phased manner, requiring several days before passenger and mail transportation will resume regular operations. Accordingly, units are still required to track personnel that were not previously able to return from leave or temporary dutys as scheduled.
Although the airspace restriction did not impact surface military mail, more than 91 tons of mail were waiting to be dispatched stateside from Frankfurt as of April 20. To help manage the backlog of mail expected to depart and arrive, post office officials request that customers continue to wait until April 27 before bringing outbound mail packages in for shipments. Letter-sized mail will continue to be accepted.
The potential health risk to the population is still considered negligible, according to Europe Regional Medical Command officials. However, individuals who have a pre-existing respiratory condition such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma should contact their clinic or primary care manager if they notice a change in their health.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the volcano, individuals are also reminded that restrictions could return and future travel plans should be weighed carefully. In coordination with European air authorities, Ramstein officials will continue to monitor the weather situation to determine if any other measures may be required to ensure success of the mission and accountability of personnel.
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