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article imagePassengers face more disruption as volcanic cloud hits flights

By Andrew John     May 17, 2010 in Travel
Passengers face yet more disruption at airports in the UK and parts of Europe, as Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano’s cloud continues to drift.
In Britain, Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports resumed limited flights after being completely closed until 0700 BST.
But in Northern Ireland and much of Scotland and Wales, flights remain grounded.
A spokesman for NATS, the National Air Traffic Service, said Gatwick was due to be closed to arrivals until 1 p.m. BST and departures would be subject to restrictions.
“Eurocontrol, the European air safety body, said Heathrow arrivals would be limited to 30 an hour initially and it warned of significant delays,” reports the BBC this morning. “Knock-on disruption was likely to continue throughout Monday, a Heathrow spokesman said.”
Britain’s new Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, has told the BBC that the country’s new coalition government and the airline industry were working together to find ways of enabling aircraft to fly safely through the cloud.
A spokesman for NATS earlier told the BBC that, while Heathrow and Gatwick would be clear of the no-fly zone from 7 a.m. BST today, “restrictions will have to be applied due to their close proximity to the no-fly zone, particularly affecting Gatwick inbounds”.
So passengers are still facing uncertainty.
The spokesman continued: “Two key areas affect operations stretching from south England to Northern Ireland, and over much of mainland Scotland to the Shetland Isles.
“As a result, no-fly zones have been imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority in these areas, for the period 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.
“Airports within the no-fly zones include all those in Northern Ireland, Ronaldsway, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Northern Scotland. Cardiff, Swansea, Bristol and Farnborough are also in the no-fly zone.”
Several airports in Britain have reopened after restrictions and suspensions, including Manchester, Leeds Bradford and Liverpool.
Flights in and out of Dublin, Republic of Ireland, are grounded till lunchtime today.
There are signs, says the BBC, that the ash cloud is passing over the UK, and Dutch TV has reported that airports in Amsterdam and Rotterdam were to close for at least eight hours from 5 a.m.
Ash from the volcano volcano has led to thousands of delays and cancellations across Europe since April.
More about Volcano, Iceland, Volcanic ash, Flights grounded, Flights
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