Volcanic ash closes more European airports

The ash plume from Iceland’s
stubbornly persistent volcano has closed most airports in northern Italy and
some in Spain and Scotland until at least lunchtime Sunday, with threats to the
airspace of France, Switzerland and northern Portugal.

Six Scottish airports, including
Inverness, remain closed Sunday morning. The Met Office warns that the volcano
remains “dynamic”, and that wind patterns could swing the ash cloud
around into the UK’s southern airspace by tonight.

Although some Spanish airports
reopened, Santiago, La Coruña and Vigo remain shut. The closures on the
continent have already disrupted UK travellers, with Ryanair cancelling flights
from Stansted, Edinburgh, and other UK airports to and from northern Italy and
Portugal Sunday, and between some continental airports. The airlines say
flights in the west of Ireland were also are at risk later in the day.

Ryanair cancelled dozens of flights
on Saturday, including those overflying southern France, Spain and Swiss
airspace, and some to the Canary Islands. In common with other carriers the
airline is urging passengers to check before setting off for the airport.

EasyJet also cancelled many
flights, and is warning again of disruption on flights to and from Switzerland,
France, Italy and Portugal.

Eurocontrol also reported delays on
trans-Atlantic flights, which are having to be diverted to avoid the ash cloud.