Misery for air travellers as Iceland's ash cloud arrives over Europe

Reuters/David Moir

European air traffic controllers say 252 flights were cancelled on Tuesday as volcanic ash from Iceland’s Grimsvoetn volcano covered Scotland and Northern Ireland. By the end of the day, an ash cloud is expected to cover southern parts of Scandinavia, Denmark and northern parts of Germany. 


Brian Flynn, head of operations at the Brussels-based Eurocontrol warned the ash cloud could continue possibly southwards towards France and Spain although it was hard to predict as weather forecasts for the end of the week are not precise.

As well as travel disruption in parts of Europe, the volcanic eruption forced US President Barack Obama to revise travel plans for a state visit to the UK and could affect Barcelona’s preparations for Saturday’s Champions League final at Wembley Stadium in London.

In 2010, a similar eruption forced the biggest shutdown of airspace in the post-war era and left many airlines unhappy at cancelling flights.

Following last year’s crisis, Britain's Civil Aviation Authority, the CAA, brought in new measures, including a move that areas of high, medium and low density ash will be identified using data from the Met Office.

Instead of a blanket ban on flights, British airlines wishing to operate in high or medium density ash will now need to have a safety request approved by the CAA. The request sets out measures airlines will take to reduce the risk of flying through ash.



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