Iceland's volcano set to cause flight chaos in Europe

Reuters/Jon Gustafsson/

Meteorologists on Monday warned that a plume of volcanic ash from Iceland's Grimsvoetm volcano is set to cause chaos in European airspace as it drifts south towards Britain and mainland Europe. Ash particles could reach Scotland as early as Tuesday and France and Spain on Thursday.


France’s junior transport secretary Thierry Mariani said on Monday that flights will be cancelled if a “noxious” cloud reaches mainland Europe.

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority has admitted some disruption to air travel was likely on Tuesday and individual airlines would respond to the ash cloud if it enters British airspace. Iceland's air travel authority Isavia shut down the country's main airport on Sunday.

The Grimsvoetn volcano, Iceland's most active, started to erupt on Saturday. The current activity is the most powerful in over a century and much bigger than more recent ones.

Experts say that historically these eruptions tend to have very brief explosive stages with the intensity usually subsiding significantly within a few days.

The eruption has raised fears of a repeat of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in April last year, which forced the cancellation of 100,000 flights and left an estimated eight million passengers stranded around the world.

Heathrow Airport said on its website that it was unaffected by the ash on Monday.

Meanwhile, shares in airline companies fell as shareholders anticipated cancellations. German airline Lufthansa plunged over 4 per cent in early trading with Air France-KLM falling 3.8 per cent.


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