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Microsoft charters plane for workers stranded by ash cloud flights backlog

Microsoft is chartering an aircraft to fly home its Europe-based employees who are stranded by the volcanic ash cloud at its Redmond, Washington headquarters....

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Microsoft is chartering an aircraft to fly home its Europe-based employees who are stranded by the volcanic ash...

cloud at its Redmond, Washington headquarters.

The same aircraft will return with US workers from both Microsoft and Amazon who have been stranded in Europe back to Seattle, according to Reuters.

Although flight schedules started to return to normal on Wednesday, it is expected to take days or even weeks before airlines are able to clear the backlog of cancelled flights.

The delays have boosted business use of a variety of video and teleconferencing technologies as many employees were unable to attend scheduled meetings.

There has been a 30% increase in European use of virtual meeting since the volcano erupted, according to webcasting firm ON24.

The volcanic ash has also had another impact on business productivity by boosting spam e-mails with "volcano" in the subject line, according to security software firm G Data.

The company said most of the spam messages link to online pharmacy shops, but it had not seen any that are harmful to computers.

But this could soon change and companies are advised to discard all e-mails from unknown senders, said Ralf Benzmüller, head of G Data's SecurityLab.

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