Europe News

Austria Open, but Headaches Persist

Brian A. Shactman|CNBC Reporter

Austrian authorities reopened the nation’s airspace Monday, but that does not mean travel headaches are over, either in Austria or across the world.

Dozens of flights departed Vienna International Airport early Monday morning, but dozens more were canceled as well.

There are two major problems affecting the situation.

First, just because Austria opened its skies does not mean other cities in Europe have followed suit, at least not yet.

Several destinations in Northern Europe still won’t accept flights, so there’s no reason for a flight to take off for that city. Officials with Austrian Airways told CNBC that they checked in several flights -- including Helsinki and Prague -- only to be informed just before boarding that the flight was canceled.

The second issue is the availability of planes. There are several long-haul flights that remain on hiatus simply because there are no planes.

For example, the Austrian Airways direct flight -- the hottest ticket in Vienna, by the way -- was canceled because it needs the incoming flight to come in from New York first.

Until that happens, people headed to New York from Vienna might be stuck.

Still, energy at Austria’s largest airport changed in a matter of hours. Late Sunday night it was virtually empty, saved for some stranded passengers from Asia a dozen or so airport employees and a smattering of taxi drivers hoping for a €5,000 payday to take a fare to Rome, where the airport is open.

Starting at 5 am local time on Monday, the airport was packed full of hopeful travelers, looking to go as far as China and as close as Munich.

Airport officials caution that weather patterns are ever-changing and just because the airport is open Monday morning does not mean that it will remain open through the evening and following day.

So, people are getting out while they can.