Birmingham Airport is on round-the-clock standby monitoring the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud as thousands of travellers look forward to the Bank Holiday getaway.
Experts predict the cloud, which has caused hundreds of flights in Scotland and the north of England to be axed, could travel south and stretch as far as Spain by the time Whitsun arrives.
Low density ash was expected to cover the West Midlands on Tuesday evening, but flight disruption was unlikely.
However, if the eruption continues at the same rate and winds do not change, the ash could spread further by Thursday.
But unpredictable wind patterns could also clear the cloud extremely quickly so minimising disruption, said forecasters.
Meanwhile changing wind patterns make it hard to predict its exact path.
A spokesman for the CAA said: “At the moment the model suggests that disruption later in the week is likely to be limited, but of course the weather patterns are changing all the time.”
Flights on Tuesday from Birmingham to Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh by Flybe and the Loganair flight to Dundee were cancelled during the morning, while return trips from Aberdeen and Dundee also fell victim to the ash cloud.
Two return services between Birmingham and Newcastle operated by Eastern Airways were also cut.
Aviation authorities commented that disruption was unlikely on European or transatlantic airspace, while Birmingham airport officials said it was “business as usual,” but warned passengers to keep checking websites for the latest information.
An airport spokesman said new technology should help avert last year’s chaos when another Icelandic volcano erupted. He added that reports from the Civil Aviation Authority, Met Office, National Air Traffic Service and airlines would be closely monitored.
The cancellations come just over a year after another volcanic eruption in Iceland caused widespread disruption across Europe.
This year, in the UK, the decision on whether to fly or not in ash cloud conditions is down to individual airlines, although they have to apply to the CAA for final approval.
The CAA said procedures were “totally different” compared with last year and although no airlines had applied to fly in high-density ash, some had applied for, and been given, permission to fly in medium ash.
The Grimsvotn volcano in Vatnajokull National Park began erupting on Saturday and closed Iceland’s airspace for a period.