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London, England (CNN) — Flights across Europe are expected to return to “100 percent” on Thursday — seven days after ash from an Icelandic volcano forced the shutdown of airspace and stranded thousands of passengers around the world, the air traffic agency Eurocontrol said.

The mood among passengers was one of cautious optimism. After days of endless waiting, many reserved their celebrations for when they were airborne.

“I think when we land down in America, then we’ll know we’re there. But at the minute, we’re a bit cautious,” said Georgina Evett.

She was part of a group trying to fly from Manchester, England, to Florida for a world cheerleading championship this week. //

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Manchester Airport was among many where flights are now taking off and landing.

The closure of so much European airspace for nearly a week left untold numbers of travelers stranded, and it’s not clear how long it will take to get everyone home.

Many airlines added or rearranged flights to try to clear the backlog.

The crisis set off a surge of emergency requests from stranded Americans, prompting the U.S. State Department to scramble to arrange everything from housing to, in one case, dialysis treatment for an elderly patient in Frankfurt, Germany.

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