Monday, November 29, 1999

British airports close after volcanic ash spreads

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London, May 16 (IANS) Over 200 flights were cancelled and many British airports had to be closed Sunday as volcanic ash from Iceland drifted across Europe, even as forecasts said airports in the capital city would be severely affected by Tuesday.Airports at East Midlands, Manchester, Liverpool, Doncaster, Humberside and Carlisle were shut down between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time, after the Civil Aviation Authority declared them as 'no-fly zones'.Eruption of ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull Glacier in Iceland, which began April 14, has affected air traffic throughout Europe, leaving thousands of travellers stranded and forcing over 20 European countries to close their airspace.Airports in Northern Ireland and Scottish highlands and the Isle of Man were also affected. Though London airports remained open, travellers were asked to check with their airlines. The cloud is expected to lie over London by Tuesday, but is likely to drift out of British airspace by Wednesday.Over 200 flights were cancelled across England and Northern Ireland. All three Northern Ireland airports - Belfast International, George Best Belfast City Airport and City of Derry Airport - cancelled flights until 11 p.m. local time.Dublin airport will remain closed from 7 p.m. Sunday till 9 a.m. Monday, while Donegal, Sligo and Ireland West airports will be closed till noon Monday, the Irish Aviation Authority said.A forecast said Sunday the ash cloud could extend further over Britain during Monday and Tuesday.'Unfortunately, yet again, a mixture of volcanic activity and weather systems have conspired to bring a cloud of ash down towards the UK,' Jonathan Astill, of the air traffic authority was quoted as saying Sunday by the BBC.

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