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Flights from MSP to Europe on schedule, for now

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Eyjafjallajokull volcano
Lighting seen amid the lava and ash erupting from the vent of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in central Iceland early morning Sunday April 18 2010 as it continues to vent into the skies over Europe. Low-energy lightning is sometimes active during eruptions, arcing between particles as they exit the volcanic vent at around 100 metres per second.
AP Photo/ Jon Pall Vilhelmsson

Delta Air Lines said it hopes its flights from the U.S. to Europe will run as scheduled this afternoon and evening, including flights to Amsterdam, London and Paris leaving from the Twin Cities.

Delta spokesman Anthony Black said flights to the United Kingdom are still in question because of the volcanic ash that has grounded thousands of flights in and out of Europe since last week. 

"Those are in question in terms of whether we'll be able to operate them based on the ash cloud coverage around the island," he said. "At this point we haven't canceled the flights, but again it's not 100 percent clear that we'll be able to operate those this evening."

Most Europe-bound flights don't leave until Tuesday afternoon or evening, so things could change, he said.

Black said Delta hopes returning flights to the U.S. will be back on schedule by Wednesday. 

Delta has canceled 425 international flights since last Thursday, including flights in and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Airport spokesman Pat Hogan said Tuesday that while things are looking better, it's still not clear if everyone flying in out of MSP to Europe will be able to fly today. 

"The first flights from MSP to Europe aren't scheduled to go out until mid-afternoon today, so anything could happen between now and then that could change things," Hogan said. "So my advice would be for people to check with Delta ahead of time before they come to the airport."

Black said some passengers who were unable to get flights to Europe have postponed or sought refunds for their trips. Those who are still trying to fly will be given any available seats on flights in the next few days.

"It will probably take us from between three and five days to get back to normal operations," he said.