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Europe: flights cancelled as volcanic ash spreads


First published: May 25, 2011, 8:04 AM IST | Updated: May 25, 2011
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Europe: flights cancelled as volcanic ash spreads
Icelandic volcano ash is causing disruption and days of uncertainty to more parts of Europe.

London: Ash spewing from an Icelandic volcano is causing disruption and days of uncertainty to more parts of Europe, as officials in Germany said that dozens of flight will be grounded on Wednesday because of levels of ash in the country's northern regions.

Even though some say it's been a massive overreaction by badly prepared safety regulators one airline even claims the official scientific findings are simply wrong hundreds of flights were cancelled yesterday as winds blew the cloud of ash from the Grimsvotn volcano over Scotland and other parts of Europe. Experts say that particles in the ash could stall jet engines and sandblast planes' windows.

The only comfort for frustrated passengers and airlines is that officials in Iceland said the amount of ash being released by the volcano is decreasing, and officials don't expect the disruption to be as bad as last year, when millions were stranded after the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

Travellers trying to go to or leave Scotland were hit hardest, but the problem also began to affect Germany, where weather officials said it would not allow any takeoffs or landings at the northern Bremen and Hamburg airports early today due to increased levels of ash in the atmosphere.

Dozens of domestic and international flights were to be affected by the closure early today. Authorities said it may be necessary to halt all air traffic coming and going from Berlin's airports, as well as Hannover, depending on the winds.

In Sweden, 10 domestic flights were cancelled Tuesday evening. The country's aviation officials say they expect medium concentrations of ash over its western coast late Tuesday, including over its second-largest city Goteborg.