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New ash cloud warning restricts flight plans

Amsterdam, April 20, 2010

Air travel chaos continued as several countries in Europe either closed airports anew or curtailed use of their airspace, after British air traffic controllers warned a new ash cloud was headed for major air routes.

While British Airways cancelled its short-haul flights, Britain's biggest airports remained closed, and even where flights resumed, at the Edinburgh and Glasgow airports in Scotland, the service was limited.

'Following the latest information ... about the path of the volcanic ash affecting UK airspace, we regret we will not be able to operate any short-haul flights on Tuesday 20 April,' BA said.

'It's really just Scottish domestic flights, maybe a couple of international ones, there's one going to Iceland -- yes, it's ironic, isn't it?' said Glasgow airport information officer Steven Boyle.

Poland, which had reopened four airports on Monday, closed them again on Tuesday, as well as shutting the northern part of its airspace to transit flights, citing the ash cloud.

Hungary closed part of its western airspace below 6,000 m (20,000) ft due to higher amounts of volcanic ash, its air traffic authority said, and Ireland said the renewed eruption of the Icelandic volcano on Monday, and prevailing weather conditions, forced it to extend its airspace closure.

'The density of volcanic ash over Irish airspace is such that restrictions will have to continue until 1300 hours (1200 GMT) today at least,' the Irish Aviation Authority said in a statement.

German carrier Lufthansa plans 200 flights today (April 20), less than 15 per cent of its regular route, a statement said.

'Today (Tuesday) all long-haul flights with only a few exceptions as well as some intra-european and domestic flights will take place,' it said.

Lufthansa also revealed plans to expand its flight plan gradually during the day.

Paris’ two airports will open in stages today, while allowing approximately 66 per cent of the international flights to operate.

Roissy and Orly airports will operate from 06:00 GMT, said a French government minister.

However, an Air France spokesperson said that its long distance flights from the two airports would return to 'normal service' today.

Denmark authorities said that all Danish airports will stay closed until 2 am (00 GMT) tomorrow, but will allow overflights above 20,000 ft. – Reuters




Tags: Lufthansa | Air France | British Airways | paris | Amsterdam | ash cloud | New warning | Denmark |

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