April 22, 2010 / 4:20 AM / 9 years ago

Microsoft charters flights for stranded workers

(For more stories on the volcano’s impact, click [ID:nLDE63F189

SEATTLE, April 21 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) chartered a plane to fly employees stranded at its headquarters back to Europe on Tuesday, and the same plane is ferrying back some U.S. workers, the world’s largest software company said on Wednesday.

More than a hundred Europe-based workers were at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington campus last week for an annual round of business meetings, but could not fly home as volcanic ash from Iceland closed most European airports.

Eighty-one of those were put on a special chartered flight to Madrid on Tuesday, which went via New York, Lou Gellos, a Microsoft spokesman, said on Wednesday.

The plane is now headed back to Seattle, with 31 passengers on board, most from Microsoft but also two from another Seattle area company, Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O). The flight is scheduled to stop over at Bangor, Maine, Gellos said.

European flight schedules started to return to normal on Wednesday, but with so many planes having been grounded over the past week, it could take days or even weeks to clear the backlog, leaving many businesses with potential staffing disruptions. (Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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