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Ash clouds: Italy, France shut some airports

Rome, May 9, 2010

Italy, France and Portugal closed some parts of their airspace on Sunday to counter the risk posed by volcanic ash coming from Iceland, reports said.   

Italy's civil aviation authority ENAC said the closure which would affect airspace in the north, began at 0600 GMT (0800 local time) and would last until at least 1200 GMT. The ban would not affect the airspace in the eastern part of northern Italy and the airports of Venice, Trieste and Rimini would remain open, ENAC said.

A bulletin issued on Sunday by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center said the ash cloud should stay over Italy until Sunday evening.

French authorities said the cloud forced the suspension of about 20 flights at the airport in Nice, the nearest international airport to Cannes which is to host its flagship international film festival in three days' time.

All flights to the city of Porto in nothern Portugal were suspended until 1200 GMT Sunday, airport officials there said, after authorities had cancelled dozens of flights in the country on Saturday because of risks from the ash.

Several Spanish airports in northern Spain including Barcelona reopened on Sunday after being shut on Saturday as a precaution against the ash cloud.

The Spanish civil aviation authority said only three airports remained closed, all in the north-western region of Galicia, and that these might open from about 0900 GMT. They were Santiago, La Coruna and Vigo.   

The government has warned that Spanish airspace could be hit again in the coming week, depending on the trajectory of the ash cloud.

Ireland expects to impose restrictions to traffic at western airports later on Sunday as ash from the Icelandic volcano drifts back over the country.




Tags: France | Italy | Ash clouds |

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