By Mark Memmott

The good news is that airlines are slowing returning to the skies over Europe, now that it appears safe to fly again because there's not thought to be danger anymore from ash spewed into the air over the past week by a volcano in Iceland.

The not-so-good news is that, as the BBC reports, the "enormous task of working through the backlog to get stranded passengers to their destinations" will take at least a few days because so many thousands of people were stranded while flights were grounded.

As Frank Browning reported for NPR's newscast earlier, airlines such as KLM will give priority to passengers who have been delayed four or more days -- "especially those with children":

From Geneva, Lisa Schlein reported for the NPR newscast that the World Meteorological Organization believes the Icelandic volcano is now producing more lava and less ash, which means less of the dangerous particles are being spewed into the air. It also looks like rain in coming days will help scrub some of the dust from the air, she says:

As for some of the effects here in the U.S., NPR's Kathy Lohr reported for Morning Edition that while U.S. airlines suffered major disruptions in service, there financial losses should be relatively short-term in nature. And some of the revenue decline will be offset by lower fuel costs since some planes weren't in the air:

categories: Accidents and Disasters, Foreign News, Travel

7:15 - April 21, 2010