Ash continues to snarl air traffic

Thousands of passengers are facing
long delays after airports in Scotland and Ireland closed because of a fresh
cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland.

Flights will remain grounded until
0100 BST on Thursday at airports such as Glasgow and Belfast, but Edinburgh
re-opened at 1900 BST.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
advised passengers to check with airports before travelling.

Last month, ash clouds from the
same volcano grounded flights for six days.

Air traffic control body Nats said
all airfields, apart from Edinburgh, currently within the no-fly zone would
remain closed until 0100 on Thursday.

Its statement said: “The
no-fly zone imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority continues to move further
south and west in line with the high-density area of the volcanic ash cloud.

“Met Office advice suggests
that the cloud will continue to move south-westerly overnight and we therefore
hope that fewer restrictions will be necessary tomorrow (Thursday).”

In Scotland, Aberdeen airport has
flights arriving and departing as normal and business resumed at Inverness at
1300 BST.

Edinburgh Airport reopened at 1900
BST with the first flights leaving just minutes later.

Passengers due to fly from the
Scottish airport were warned there would still be some disruption through the
evening and on Thursday.

Ryanair has
cancelled all flights to and from Belfast, Derry, Edinburgh and Prestwick airports.

But the no-frills airline said it
expected all its UK flights to operate on Thursday, although there would be
continued disruption in Ireland.

has cancelled all flights to and from George Best Belfast City, Glasgow and the
Isle of Man.

flights to and from George Best Belfast City, Belfast International and Glasgow
have been cancelled.

The CAA said airports in south-east
England were unlikely to be affected.

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines
said ash would probably “continue to disrupt UK air travel for the
foreseeable future”.

“Scientists are tracking the
cloud’s movements constantly but its location changes frequently, depending on
the strength of eruptions and prevailing winds,” he said.