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Scottish airspace to be closed over volcanic ash concerns

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says it will close some airspace in Scotland, after meteorologists cautioned that ash from Eyjafjallajokull, an erupting volcano in Iceland, may make it unsafe for airplanes to fly.

The CAA announced that the airspace will be shut down from 07.00 (06.00 UTC) local time on Wednesday; travellers are advised to check with their airlines to see if their flights will be operating. A spokesman for the agency also added that "[t]he forecasts also show that it is likely that the ash cloud will continue to move south, potentially affecting airports in the north-west of England and North Wales."

"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," said a spokesman for the authority. "Unfortunately, this means that the CAA anticipates all Scottish and Northern Ireland airports will be closed from 7.00 am local time."

The Irish Aviation Authority, meanwhile, warned that aviation in the vicinity could face a "summer of uncertainty" as the volcano continues to sporadically erupt. "We could be faced with this periodically [in] the summer," said Eamon Brennan, the chief executive of the group.

The restrictions come a day after a temporary ban on flights in Ireland was implemented yesterday, from 07.00 to 13.00 local time (06.00 to 12.00 UTC); flights from there have now resumed. Flights going to and from locations in mainland Europe have not been affected thanks to new flight rules that allow planes fly through low-density ash clouds.


Sources