Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Volcanic ash disrupts more European air travel - Technology & Science - CBC News

Volcanic ash disrupts more European air travel - Technology & Science - CBC News

Volcanic ash disrupts more European air travel

Eurocontrol, the European air traffic agency, says 500 commercial flights in Northern Ireland, Scotland and some Scandinavian countries may be cancelled Tuesday as a cloud of ash from an Icelandic volcano continued to affect air travel.

Brian Flynn, the head of network operations at Eurocontrol, said up to 250 flights had already been cancelled Tuesday.

Norwegian airport operator Avinor said ash from the Grimsvotn volcano has disrupted traffic in and out of Stavanger and Karmoey airports in western Norway. Ash was expected to reach southern Norway later Tuesday.

In Denmark, authorities said airspace was closed in the northwestern part of the country, while ash caused some delays and cancellations in Copenhagen.

On Monday, flights in and out of Scotland were heavily disrupted by Grimsvotn's ash, and thousands of travellers were affected by the disruption.

Drifting over U.K.

The BBC reported Tuesday that the ash already over northern Scotland was expected to reach Wales, northern England and Northern Ireland by the middle of the day.

Much of the United Kingdom was expected to be affected by the end of Tuesday, the broadcaster reported.

The ash cloud caused U.S. President Barack Obama to cut short his visit to Ireland on Monday.

Meanwhile, Barcelona's soccer team was to travel to London on Tuesday, two days ahead of schedule, for Saturday's Champions League final against Manchester United. Barcelona is making the trip early to avoid having its Champions League travel plans disrupted for a second consecutive year by volcanic ash.

In April 2010, another volcanic eruption grounded planes across northern Europe for five days, stranding some 10 million travellers. Thousands of flights were grounded and airlines lost millions of dollars after the Eyjafjallajokull volcano blew.

Because of what happened last year, British government officials say they are now better prepared to avoid a similar mass grounding of planes. New guidelines can determine which airline fleets are safe enough to fly through low- and medium-density ash clouds, officials say.

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