Ash forces airport closures in Britain, Ireland
British air traffic authorities Wednesday closed a number of airports in Scotland and Northern Ireland because of risks from a new volcanic cloud drifting across from Iceland, DPA reported.
The restrictions were imposed from 0600 GMT at three airports in Scotland, including Glasgow, but air traffic to and from Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, remained open.
Later Wednesday, the airport in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, was also due to be closed, and flights to and from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland were expected to shut from 1000 GMT.
By early afternoon, all airports in Ireland could be affected, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said.
In Britain, the Civil Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the situation could deteriorate as the cloud drifted southwards and airports in the north of England could be affected later.
Ash from the volcano at Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull glacier caused authorities to impose no-fly zones above Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland from Monday to Tuesday noon. Hundreds of flights had to be cancelled.
European airspace was shut down for six days last month, stranding hundreds of thousands of passengers and leading to billions of dollars worth of losses for airlines and industries.
Following the closures, Britain, together with leading aircraft manufacturers, put in place upper limits for airborne ash concentration.
"Met Office forecasts show that levels of ash in the atmosphere over Scotland and Northern Ireland will exceed the concentrations that engine manufactures have agreed are safe for operations," a CAA spokesman said of Wednesday's bans.
At a meeting on Tuesday, the European Union transport ministers agreed the EU should immediately create an air-traffic crisis group to ensure member states coordinate reactions to any future threats to airspace.