May 4, 2010

Volcanic Ash Disrupting European Air Travel Again

Ash from Iceland's erupting volcano has once again disrupted air travel in Europe, forcing flight delays in the U.K. and Ireland, according to various media reports on Tuesday.

BBC News reported that "flights in and out of Cardiff Airport to Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic have been disrupted by a new cloud of volcanic ash"¦ Flights from Cardiff to Belfast, Cork and Belfast were cancelled earlier when planes were grounded from 0700 BST."

Furthermore, AFP reporter Andrew Bushe notes, "Irish airports were due to reopen on Tuesday after being shut down for six hours due to the return of volcanic ash from an Icelandic volcano which brought chaos to thousands of travelers last month."

"The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said seven airports including Dublin and Shannon would reopen for normal operations from 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) after they were shut from 0600 GMT as a precautionary measure," he added.

In a statement printed on their official website, the IAA noted that they "expect operations to be normal at all Irish Airports for the rest of today"¦ Ireland will not fall within the predicted area of ash concentrations that exceed acceptable engine manufacturer tolerance levels."

At least 20 flights out of London's Heathrow Airport had also been cancelled Tuesday morning, and according to Bushe, officials were asking passengers to phone ahead to see whether or not their flights were still scheduled to depart.

Last month, more than 100,000 European flights were cancelled due to ongoing eruptions at the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, stranding over 10 million travelers--some for several days.

The volcano, which is located beneath the ice cap of a glacier, spewed ash some 30,000 feet into the air in late April, grounding flights not just in the UK and Ireland, but also in France, Germany, and throughout the mainland continent.


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