A cloud of ash being spewed from a volcano in Iceland has drifted south, and led to the cancellation of several flights in the UK and Western Europe. British Airways reported that all flights between London and Scotland will be cancelled before 2pm today (Tuesday 24 May), while KLM has cancelled flights between Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and several points in Scotland. Other carriers, including easyJet and Ireland’s Aer Lingus have also cancelled some services, while all domestic flights in Iceland have been cancelled and the country’s main Keflavik airport remains closed.
The ash cloud from the Grimsvotn volcano is drifting south and east, and later today is expected to cover most of Scotland and Ireland, as well as parts of northern England and far northern Russia. The approaching cloud has already affected some high-profile travel plans; US President Barack Obama, on a visit to Ireland, left the country earlier than scheduled so not run the risk of being left stranded. Also Barcelona FC, which is due to travel to London later this week ahead of Saturday’s Champion’s League final, is considering changing its flights to avoid possible disruption.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said it could not rule out flight disruption. “Our number one priority is to ensure the safety of people both onboard aircraft and on the ground,” said CAA Chief Executive, Andrew Haines. “We can’t rule out disruption, but the new arrangements that have been put in place since last year’s ash cloud mean the aviation sector is better prepared and will help to reduce any disruption in the event that volcanic ash affects UK airspace.”
The Grimsvotn volcano eruption comes just over a year after an ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull caused the widespread closure of airspace in the UK and Western Europe. So far no Asian airlines have announced any disruption to their European flights.
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