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Volcano's activity called "optimal" for resolution of travel chaos

Other News Materials 20 April 2010 10:44 (UTC +04:00)
The Icelandic volcano that has disrupted European air traffic for days was sending little ash toward the continent by Tuesday morning, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.
Volcano's activity called "optimal" for resolution of travel chaos

The Icelandic volcano that has disrupted European air traffic for days was sending little ash toward the continent by Tuesday morning, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said, DPA reported.

The volcano under the Ejyafjallajoekull glacier continued to be active but it was now belching more lava rather than steam and ash, the office in Reykjavik said.

The cloud of smoke it was producing was also not as tall. From Wednesday when it began erupting until Sunday, the column of ash and smoke had reached as high as 11 kilometres and spread itself across Europe, prompting aviation authorities to close airspace and cancel flights, stranding millions of travellers around the world.

While Tuesday would represent a sixth day of flight cancellations, Rikke Pedersen, the head of the Nordic Volcanological Center, also in Reykjavik, said that Tuesday's developments at the crater were "optimal" for a solution to the air travel chaos.

She told the Danish television broadcaster DR that another eruption generating another mass of ash was not expected at this point. However, she added that it was possible that a new crater under the glacier could open.

Her outlook contrasted starkly with that of Britain's' National Air Traffic Services, which said overnight that a new cloud of ash was approaching Britain and the situation in England was expected to worsen.

Meanwhile, a day after some planes were allowed to take off for the first time since last week, Europe's airports began to see a bit more activity Tuesday.

In Germany, airports in Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin saw their first planes roll up and down the runways Tuesday morning since German airspace was closed.

German aviation authorities continued to order the airspace shut down until at least 2 pm (1200 GMT), but flights were being allowed under certain conditions, a day after transport ministers in the EU's 27 member states agreed to a relaxation of the flying bans.

At Germany's largest airport in Frankfurt, about 25 planes took off and landed Monday. That number should rise substantially Tuesday, an airport spokesman said. Deutsche Lufthansa AG, for example, planned 140 flights.

Peter Pruemm, a spokesman for the Munich airport, said that facility planned 457 flights Tuesday, about 40 per cent of its normal traffic.

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