A total of 24 planes departed Hong Kong for Europe and another 24 landed yesterday, but the backlog of stranded passengers appears little changed as airlines scramble to resume scheduled services. Cathay Pacific chief executive Tony Tyler said the carrier operated extra flights yesterday and would do so again today. Two more flights, both to and from Amsterdam, will take off on Saturday and Sunday. But it could take up to two weeks to clear the passenger backlog, Tyler said. 'We'll be looking to upgrade to larger aircraft on some 30 round-trip flights over the next two or three weeks,' he said. 'My suspicion is that often the backlog is not as great as it sometimes appears because people cancel their trips, postpone trips, decide not to travel. I hope we will be able to clear the backlog quite quickly, but it's very hard to predict. It could be as long as two weeks.' Qantas Airways also resumed normal services and sent a plane to London in the morning. Although air traffic in Europe was largely back to normal after the huge cloud of Icelandic volcanic ash prevented planes from taking off and landing there for a week, affected passengers, some of whom have been stranded since Thursday last week, are increasingly desperate to go home. At Chek Lap Kok, about 150 passengers with Cathay Pacific tickets threatened to storm the check-in counters yesterday to prevent others from getting on flights if they did not receive answers from the airline on when they could depart and on temporary living arrangements. Passenger representative Adrienne Mead, who flew to Phuket from London with her husband and son, said it was unfair priority seats were being given to Marco Polo Club members and students studying for exams in Britain. The British Council said about 300 affected students boarded flights to Europe on Wednesday. 'There are children here. We've been sleeping on the floor. We have had no food, no help,' Mead said. 'We have a young baby. Some of the people have been here since April 16.' Cathay Pacific director of service delivery Ivan Chu said the airline had offered hotel rooms to the passengers last night. Other passengers had fashioned makeshift beds out of cardboard and blankets provided on Tuesday by Cathay and the Airport Authority. Meal vouchers worth HK$50 each were also distributed.