Volcanic Ash Brings More Flight Disruptions

PARIS — Aviation authorities closed airspace over Ireland, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland on Tuesday as a new cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland Eyjafjoell volcano revived memories of the devastating shutdown of Europe’s skies last month.

‘The volcano is still active. There is no sign of decreasing activity … The ash cloud is similar’ to what has been emitted recently, a civil protection department spokesman told AFP.

The problem, the Icelandic civil protection spokesman said, is ‘the wind comes from the west so the ash is going east.’ The volcano, which began erupting for the second time in less than a month on April 14, was also still spewing lava which was ‘flowing north inside the glacier. It should be visible in a couple of days,’ he said.

Nonetheless,flights from Cardiff to Belfast, Cork and Belfast were cancelled earlier when planes were grounded from 0700 BST.

Around 100,000 flights were canceled and the shutdown cost airlines between $2 billion and $3 billion in losses.

On Tuesday, by comparison, the Irish aviation authority said flights would resume at 1 p.m. local time.

British aviation chiefs also closed down airspace over the Outer Hebrides, an island chain off the northwest of Scotland, late on May 3 and said the shutdown would be extended to Northern Ireland.

Services to Belfast, Cork and Dublin have been affected by the decision to close Irish airspace until 12pm.

A statement on Cardiff Airport’s website said: “Due to the closure of Irish airspace all flights between Cardiff and Belfast, Cork and Dublin until 15.00 are cancelled.

“Passengers travelling on these flights should contact their airline.

“The 15.10 and 20.45 flughts to Dublin are still operating at present subject to the airspace reopening at 15.00. All other flights are operating normally at present.”

An Irish Aviation Authority spokesman said: “Our decision to close earlier today was based solely on the safety risks to crews and passengers as a result of the drift south of the volcanic ash cloud caused by north-easterly winds.”

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