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Britain "ICE"-olated: NO flights in or out of UK as ash from Icelandic volcano leaves thousands stra


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Britain cut off from the world: NO flights in or out of UK as ash from Icelandic volcano leaves thousands stranded



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 11:10 AM on 15th April 2010





  • British airspace to close from 12pm today
  • Passengers flying from Heathrow and Stansted after noon advised not to turn up
  • Airports already closed: Aberdeen, Belfast City, Belfast International, Edinburgh, Inverness, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle
  • Ash could take days to disperse

All British airports will be closed from 12pm today as vast plumes of volcanic ash from Iceland forced the cancellation of thousands of flights.

In an unprecedented move which will leave hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded, British airspace will not reopen until at least 6pm.


The disruption will have a devastating impact on families returning from the Easter holidays who were due to fly back to Britain this weekend.



Chaos: Manchester was one of the first English airports to close after the cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland hit British airspace


Lockdown: Passengers at Glasgow airport wait for news after all flights in Scottish airspace were grounded this morning

The complete paralysis of the UK network has echoes of September 11 when airspace over the States was shut down for days.



Flights have also been disrupted in Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Finland.


Finnair said air traffic had been shut down in northern parts of Finland, while air traffic has been suspended in northern Sweden.


Jan Lindqvist, a spokesman for Arlanda airport in Stockholm said all transatlantic flights there were taking a longer route south to avoid the ash.


Oslo airport has shut and Norway's King Harald V and Queen Sonja - who had planned to fly to Copenhagen in Denmark today for the Danish queen's 70th birthday - were looking to take a 'car, boat or train' after the Norwegian airport operator Avinor said it was closing.


Cohenhagen airport is reporting severe disruptions. The Danish part of North Sea air space is closed, Danish air traffic controller Navair said, with further sectors of air space expected to be closed throughout the day as the ash cloud moves across the country.


Ryanair said it would try to operate some flights out of southern Ireland today. The national carrier, Aer Lingus, canceled at least 40 flights in or out of Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast.


A spokesman for Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport said about 40 inbound and outbound flights had been canceled, mainly from Britain, Scandinavia and Russia.



A spokesman for the National Air Traffic Service said: 'From midday today until at least 6pm, there will be no flights permitted in UK controlled airspace other than emergency situations.


'This has been applied in accordance with international civil aviation policy.


'We continue to monitor the situation with the Met Office and work closely with airline customers and adjoining countries.'


Air traffic controllers were forced to shut British airspace after the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland yesterday spewed massive clouds of ash thousands of feet into the sky.

It is the second time the volcano has erupted in a month. But the second explosion was 10 to 20 times more powerful than the one on March 20. Eyjafjallajokull had previously been silent for almost 200 years.

Scottish passengers were the first to feel the impact of the eruption this morning as Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports were closed this morning.

Christine Campbell, 55, was at Glasgow Airport to fly to La Rochelle, in France, for her son's wedding.

She said: 'When we arrived we were told there were no flights going out today and to go home. But I wanted to come and wait anyway because I didn't want to miss anything.

'I'm really disappointed and upset because I've been looking forward to this wedding for two years and at the last minute there's this hiccup.'

She was planning to try to get a train to London and then travel to France by Eurostar.

Ann Cochrane, 58, a market researcher originally from Beith in Ayrshire, was trying to get home to Toronto where she now lives.


She said: 'I think I might cry. I just wish I was on a beach in Mexico. We took a cab at 7.30am this morning and they told us about what was going on and said we should go home.


'It's not so bad for us because we're only down the road so we will just hire a car for another day, but other people live hours away.'

A critically ill patient had to be flown from Scotland to London by military helicopter - the only aircraft suitable to make the journey.


The woman was taken by ambulance from hospital in Dunfermline, Fife, to HMS Gannet at Prestwick.


From there a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter flew her to London, landing in Regent's Park at around 9am. An ambulance then took her to University College Hospital.



Snapshot: A radar image of air traffic above Europe taken at 10am today shows empty skies over much of Britain. Flights continue as normal on the continent


Ash cloud: The volcano has pumped the plume of thick smoke over Britain, throwing all airports into chaos



Eurostar reported a huge increase in sales calls this morning as passengers struggled to rearrange their travel plans.


Many fares had already sold out by 9.30am this morning, while prices shot up the fewer tickets became available.


While passengers can normally find return tickets to Paris or Brussels costing just £69, a single to travel from those cities today would cost at least £220 and up to £307.


A single from Lille to London would cost around £185 to travel today.


A spokeswoman for Eurostar said they had received hundreds of calls from passengers, particularly in Scotland, who were fighting to rearrange their travel plans.


Many more had logged on to their website.


She said: 'At this time of year, our services are busy with people getting away for spring breaks. So by mid-afternoon, we expect many of our trains to be full.'


But she said Eurostar prices rise the closer to departure that you book, and depends on availability.


'We don't just put prices up because something like this has happened. Prices are high because it is close to the weekend.'



Matt Dobson, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, said ash would come down in Scotland, Denmark and Norway and could continue to affect airspace until Friday.

It cannot be seen from the ground as it blowing across Britain around three miles in the sky.

Ash can disrupt the engines of an aircraft and reduce visibility as well as affecting landing and navigation gear.

However, the substance does have one plus - for most people it will just mean a spectacular red sunset.


This morning a Heathrow Airport spokesman said 150 flights, both arrivals and departures, had been cancelled - at the busiest time of the day - and more flights were expected to be affected as the cloud of ash moved south.

The spokesman said all of the airport's domestic flights had been cancelled, as well as flights to and from Scandinavia and all U.S. arrivals that had not yet departed.

At Gatwick, 108 flights have been cancelled, while at least 17 flights are grounded at Stansted. Birmingham airport has seen 70 flights cancelled, while Bristol has halted around 20 flights.

Passengers are being advised to check with their airline before travelling to the airport.

The volcanic ash scare also caused Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable to cancel planned General Election campaign visits to Dunfermline and Edinburgh today, the party said.

Thousands of passengers in Northern Ireland were also caught up in the air chaos, with the closure of Belfast International Airport and George Best Belfast City Airport.

Crowds who filled departures lounges for early morning flights to destinations throughout the UK were told services had been cancelled indefinitely.

Flight Sergeant Andy Carnell, a spokesman for RAF Search and Rescue, said that their aircraft would continue to fly.


He said: "We will continue to provide full search and rescue cover, however we will consider all requests we get on a case by case basis

A spokesman for BAA Airports said this morning: 'Following advice from the Met Office, the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) has introduced restrictions to UK airspace this morning as a result of volcanic ash drifting across the UK from Iceland.

'Passengers intending to fly today are asked to contact their airline for further information and should expect disruption in the coming hours.'

A spokeswoman for the Aberdeen airport said last night: 'The closure will come into effect locally at midnight and may also spread to other parts of Scotland.


Travel chaos: A passenger posted a picture of Dublin Airport this morning on Twitter after volcanic ash disrupted hundreds of flights













The volcano in Iceland yesterday spewed ash over 10,000ft into the sky, causing a deadly hazard to pilots. The eruption was believed to be 10 to 20 times more powerful than a similar one that shook Iceland last month.

The plume of ash is currently moving towards the UK and covers a wide area over the North Atlantic. It can affect aircraft flying between 5,000ft and 35,000ft. It is moving south west at a rate of 20 knots and will reach the skies over the UK later today.

The cloud will eventually push into Europe, and is likely to cause even more widespread cancellations and delays at airports.


Volcanic ash is abrasive and dangerous for aircraft. It reduces visibility, causes damage to fuel and water systems and can clog engines causing them to fail. It can also affect landing gear.


One of the biggest difficulties facing flight crews is the problem of distinguishing ash clouds from ordinary clouds, both visually and on radar. In June 1982, a British Airways Boeing 747 jumbo jet flight from Heathrow to Auckland flew into a cloud of volcanic ash from Mount Galunggung in Java, Indonesia. It didn't show up on the plane's weather radar because it was 'dry ash'.

The ash caused all four engines to stop and the plane rapidly fell from 36,000ft to 12,000ft. Luckily the drop caused the ash to solidify and break off which cleared the engines and allowed the crew to restart them.

Another 20 aircraft were damaged by the ash cloud from the June 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. The cloud travelled more than 5,000 miles to the east coast of Africa.

A Met Office spokesman told Mail Online: 'There is uncertainty about the amount of ash released in the eruption, but it is thought that it will only affect aviation. There is no suggestion there will be any ash falling from the sky.'

The Met Office runs the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre that monitors and forecasts the movement of volcanic ash over the UK.




'It has been ordered by the air traffic control service Nats - as a result of volcanic ash which is drifting towards the country from Iceland.'

Airlines also issued warnings of potential disruption.

A spokeswoman for easyJet said: 'Following the eruption of a volcano in Iceland earlier today, the Met Office have advised airlines that the ash plume may reach UK air space overnight.

'As a result this may cause significant disruption to flights departing the UK tomorrow.

'easyJet passengers are advised to check the website before they leave for the airport for any disruption information.'

The chaos comes after the volcano, which is under a glacier, erupted for the second time in less than a month - causing hundreds of people to flee the rising floodwaters.

Emergency workers rescued scores of tourists from around the Eyjafjallajokull glacier as it spewed smoke and steam. Around 800 residents had to be evacuated from their homes.

Rivers rose by up to ten feet (three metres) as the ferocious temperatures melted the glacier, turning it to water, which gushed down the mountainside.

Iceland's main coastal ring road was closed near the volcano, and workers smashed three holes in the highway in a bid to to give the rushing water a clear route to the coast and prevent bridges from being swept away.

Scientists said the eruption under the ice cap was ten to 20 times more powerful than the one last month, and carried a much greater risk of widespread flooding.

'This is a very much more violent eruption, because it's interacting with ice and water,' said Andy Russell, an expert in glacial flooding at the UK's University of Newcastle.

'It becomes much more explosive, instead of a nice lava flow oozing out of the ground.'

Civil protection official Agust Gunnar Gylfason said emergency workers rescued some 70 tourists and visitors trapped near the volcano since this morning. He said the party was now safe in a tourist facility and officials were trying to transport them out of the area.

No lives or properties were in immediate danger, Gylfason said and scientists added that there was no sign of increased activity at the much larger Katla volcano nearby.

Iceland's Meteorological Office said a plume of steam rose at least five miles (eight kilometers) into the air. Scientists aboard a coastguard plane that flew over the volcano said the new fissure appeared to be up to 1.2 miles (2 kilometres) long.

There were no immediate signs of large clouds of volcanic ash, which could disrupt air travel between Europe and North America. Some domestic flights were canceled, but Iceland's international airport remained open.

The volcano, about 75 miles (120 kilometres) east of Reykjavik, first erupted on March 20 after almost 200 years of silence, and petered out earlier this week.


Quiet: An air traffic controller posts a screenshot of his equipment, showing the flights over the UK at 7am this morning. He said it shows 'the lack of air traffic over the UK due to volcanic ash'

But Gunnar Gudmundsson, a geophysicist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, said there were a series of tremors overnight, and rivers in the area began rising Wednesday morning - strong evidence of a new eruption under the glacier.

Last month's eruption struck near the glacier in an area that had no ice.

Gudmundsson said the new eruption appeared to be about eight or nine kilometers (five to six miles) west of the original fissure.

'Most probably this eruption is taking place at the summit ... under the ice,' he said.

Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland, said magma was melting a hole in the 650-foot (200 metre) thick ice covering the volcano's crater, sending floodwater coursing down the glacier into lowland areas.

Residents were evacuated to a Red Cross centre in the nearby community of Hvolsvollur, the Civil Protection Department said.

Iceland, a nation of 320,000 people, sits on a large volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic's mid-oceanic ridge. Volcanic eruptions are often triggered by seismic activity when the Earth's plates move and when magma from deep underground pushes its way to the surface.

The last time there was an eruption near the 100-square-mile (160 square-kilometre) Eyjafjallajokull glacier was in 1821.

A bigger worry is Katla, which in the past has erupted in tandem with Eyjafjallajokull.

Katla is located under the vast Myrdalsjokull ice cap. An eruption could cause widespread flooding and disrupt air traffic between Europe and North America.

The last major eruption took place in 1918, and volcanologists say a new blast is overdue.

'So far there have been no signs of the reawakening of the Katla volcano, but a lot of things can still happen, so we are monitoring it quite closely,' Einarsson said.

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Paralysed by the volcano: Gigantic ash cloud engulfs skies and grounds EVERY plane in Britain - and it could last for days



By Michael Seamark, Ray Massey and Sean Poulter

Last updated at 7:24 AM on 16th April 2010




Dark and menacing, this is the giant cloud of volcanic ash that continues to paralyse air travel in Britain.

As Britain awoke to a second day of chaos, health officials warned those with conditions such as asthma to stay indoors.

In an awesome demonstration of nature's power, every plane will be grounded until the wind stops blowing debris towards us from a volcano 700 miles away in Iceland.


Already, all non-emergency air travel has been cancelled until 7pm tonight.




Menacing: A volcanic ash cloud rises over Iceland yesterday

Some experts said there could be disruption for six months from the 'invisible menace' which covers northern Europe. The unprecedented lockdown has already caused the greatest chaos to air travel Britain has ever seen.








No jet planes can fly except in emergency because the dust causes their engines to fail.

The day of volcanic ash saw:


  • All UK airports and many across northern Europe closed;
  • Hundreds of thousands of frustrated passengers stranded - and alternative ways home swamped;
  • A row amid claims that insurers may invoke an 'act of God' clause to avoid £20million compensation; and
  • A multi-million-pound bill in lost business for British industry.



I see red: One upside of the ash that saw flights cancelled across Britain was a stunning sunset, seen casting a red glow over Heathrow airport

Last night the vast cloud appeared to be growing and threatened to prolong travel paralysis for millions for days to come.


The Met Office said the cloud would cover Britain until midday today at the earliest. Air traffic controllers ruled out any flights until at least 7pm as a precaution and said the situation remained 'under review'.


Stay indoors, frail warned


The Health Protection Agency said the ash will cause itchy eyes, a runny nose, sore throat or dry couth when the particles land.


Those with from bronchitis, emphysema and asthma were advised to stay inside because the ash could seriously inflame their conditions.


The ash, which will drift down from the north of the country, was predicted to appear as a dusty haze and may smell of sulphur, rotten eggs or strongly acidic.


A spokesman for the HPA said: 'Any health effects are likely to be short term.'




Reports from Iceland said the eruption spewing ash into the atmosphere from Eyjafjallokull showed no sign of abating after almost two days of activity.

A spokesman for the Icelandic Met Office said: 'It is likely that the production of ash will continue at a comparable level for some days or weeks. But where it disrupts travel, that depends on the weather. It depends how the wind carries the ash.'


Even if the current eruption subsides within days, it may not be the end of the travel chaos that the volcano can cause.


It last erupted in the 19th century and Bill McGuire, professor at the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre, based at University College London, said if the volcano continued erupting for more than 12 months, as it did the last time, periodic disruptions to air traffic could continue.

He added: 'A lot depends on the wind. I would expect this shutdown to last a couple of days. But if the eruption continues - and continues to produce ash - we could see repeated disruption over six months or so.'




Patient: A couple use their suitcase as a makeshift bench as they wait for news of their flight at Newcastle Airport yesterday




Fed up: Young passengers wait for information about flight cancellations in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport yesterday. The disruption could continue for days, experts have warned

Even without further groundings, the knock-on effect of the initial disruption will take days to clear with planes, passengers and crew all in the wrong place.


In a blanket move - worse even than in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror atrocity - air traffic controllers were forced to completely close British airspace at midday yesterday as the volcano pumped massive clouds of ash thousands of feet into the air.


The huge dust cloud, unseen from the ground, slowly drifted across northern Europe at the height that jets cruise across the skies.


The volcanic ash contains tiny particles of rock and even glass which, when sucked into an aircraft's jet engine, can potentially cause them to fail.


While skies above the UK remained clear but eerily quiet, runways emptied and planes were grounded, the air lockdown - the first in living memory - meant misery for millions.


More than 500,000 passengers a day fly in and out of the UK on around 5,300 flights and hundreds of thousands of travellers were left stranded abroad as they planned to return from their Easter breaks.


Airports across the UK became deserted as airlines told passengers to stay at home. The travel chaos spread across mainland Europe, with airspace closed in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark and all northbound flights from France and Spain cancelled. The closing of UK skies led to a rush for seats on Eurostar, bus and train operators and ferries.


Millions face losing their holidays or the prospect of punishing bills as a result of the airport shutdown.


Those who booked flights as part of holidays they organised themselves are being offered a refund of their ticket price, but there is no right to compensation.




Grounded: Flights from all UK airports were cancelled yesterday after a plume of ash-filled smoke made its way across from Iceland



Choking: The smoke is blown across the skies above houses in Iceland yesterday

Airlines were yesterday clinging to a small-print get-out clause in EU law that means they are not liable where cancellation is 'caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided'.


Many airlines will allow people to transfer their booking to the next available flight without extra charge. However seats are scarce and this could be days away.


The net result is that people who have lost their flights face being hit with big penalty charges associated with any hotel and car hire bookings that they cannot take up.


In theory, airlines should step in and help people who are stranded overseas because their return flights have been cancelled. This means providing hotel accommodation, meals and telephone calls until a new flight has been arranged.


However, it could be days before their airline finds them a flight home because most seats are fully booked around the Easter holidays.


As passengers scrambled to find other means of leaving the UK, Gordon Brown said the suspension of flights was a temporary decision and would be reviewed 'at all times'.


But he added: 'Safety is the first and predominant consideration, and if any travelling public are inconvenienced I apologise for that, but it is important that everybody's safety comes first.'


Nobody was able to beat the flying ban. Those caught up included the Duchess of Cornwall, who had been due to fly from Aberdeen to London, and LibDem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable, who had to cancel election campaigning in Scotland.


There was one upside, however, with weather experts predicting that the particles in the atmosphere could cause some spectacular sunsets over the coming days.

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'Stay inside': Health chiefs' extraordinary warning as volcanic ash begins to fall on parts of Britain



By Liz Hazelton

Last updated at 2:08 PM on 16th April 2010



Britons were today faced with conflicting advice about the health dangers of the volcanic ash cloud that has paralysed Europe's airlines.


In an extraordinary move, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned people to stay inside if the ash from the volcanic eruption in Iceland settled on the ground.

The warning was issued as airports across Britain remained closed after the National Air Traffic Service (NATs) grounded flights in and out of the UK until at least 1am tomorrow.


Dust has fallen in northern parts of Britain, including Shetland and Aberdeen, and is expected to progress southwards later today.

The WHO said it did not know the exact risks presented by the cloud, which is currently moving south across the UK.


But David Epstein, a spokesman for the UN agency, said the microscopic dust is potentially dangerous to people if it starts to 'settle' on the earth.


'We're very concerned about it,' he added. 'These particles when inhaled can reach the peripheral regions of the lungs and can cause problems - especially for people with asthma or respiratory problems.'


Ashes to ashes: A car in Iceland which has been coated in dust after the volcano eruption


Lunar landscape: The ash cloud is now over Britain and health officials have warned people to stay indoors if the dust starts to settle on the ground

Mr Epstein said for the most part the cloud remained high in the atmosphere. 'But when they do settle ... we would recommend that people stay indoors as much as possible.'


'Those who venture outside might want to consider a mask.'

The warning from the WHO may trigger accusations that the authorities' response to the volcano has been disproportionate.


But British health officials have limited themselves to less strident advice, instead stating that only people with breathing difficulties should stay inside if the ash settles.

The cloud has already blanketed the ground in parts of rural southern Iceland. The ash is not toxic.


Last night, health bosses in Britain said that only people with breathing conditions should stay inside


The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the ash should not cause serious harm but could cause irritation, particularly to those with respiratory conditions.







It advised people with conditions including asthma and chronic bronchitis to carry inhalers and medication with them and those who noticed symptoms, including itchy or irritated eyes, runny nose, sore throat or dry cough, should either return to their homes or 'limit their activities outdoors'.


But the Met Office said any ash which did reach ground level would be barely visible and the public should not be concerned.


The HPA said weather patterns indicated a 'small fraction' of the volcanic plume in the UK's airspace, which could include low levels of sulphur dioxide, was likely to reach the ground.




Eerily quiet: A near-deserted Terminal Two at Birmingham International Airport where passengers stayed away




Exhausted: Passengers stranded at Stansted resort to sleeping on the floor after all flights were cancelled for a second day


In a statement, the HPA said: 'It is important to stress that the concentration of particles which may reach ground level is likely to be low and should not cause serious harm.


'If people are outside and notice symptoms such as itchy or irritated eyes, runny nose, sore throat or dry cough, or if they notice a dusty haze in the air or can smell sulphur, rotten eggs, or a strong acidic smell, they may wish to limit their activities outdoors or return indoors.


'Those with existing respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma may notice these effects more than others and should ensure they have any inhalers or other medications with them.


'Any such health effects are likely to be short term. The Health Protection Agency, Health Protection Scotland and the Met Office will continue to monitor the situation and issue any further advice or updates as necessary as the weather changes.'


'Low concentrations of volcanic dust, which may contain low levels of sulphur dioxide, are also expected to ground with the plume, although this is not expected to be a significant threat to public health,' the spokesman added.


Met Office forecaster John Hammond: 'There's always been a small chance of it reaching the ground.


'Over the next few days or so, with winds as they are, there is a chance we will see some small deposits but these will be quite difficult to see.


'It might be easiest to see anything that comes out of the sky on cars because the amounts will be very small.'



Airports remained deserted today after the unprecedented lockdown across Britain and much of northern Europe.


The National Air Traffic Service (NATS) has now grounded flights in and out of the UK until at least 1am tomorrow.


But with the source of the ash - a volcano 700 miles away in Iceland - still spewing smoke into the atmosphere, there are already fears the chaos could go on for days if not weeks.


Some experts said there could be disruption for six months as a result of contaminated air drifting over northern Europe.


NATs will review the situation at 1pm today and put out a statement about services tomorrow at 2.30pm.


No jet planes can fly except in an emergency because the dust causes their engines to fail.


The cancellations have already caused the greatest mayhem to air travel since the Second World War.


This morning there were few passengers at UK airports - which usually cater for 500,000 people a day - with most chosing to stay home.


At 7am, which is normally one of the busiest times of the day, Newcastle International Airport was deserted.


Check-in desks were unstaffed and the only people waiting around appeared to be airport employees, police or air crew.


Only a limited number of flights could run to and from Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland but most of the nation's airports were at a standstill.


Spread: A satellite image shows the grey plume of ash (centre) travelling from Iceland, over the Faroe Islands and towards Shetland

A spokesman for Heathrow confirmed staff were coming into work as usual but said passengers were still being advised to keep away.


Some turned up only to sit with their luggage. Others had slept on the green seats in the arrivals hall overnight.


Debbie Eidsforth, 36, who had been visiting family in Preston, Lancashire, was trying to head home to Adelaide, Australia, via Hong Kong.


Her journey started yesterday morning when she travelled from Manchester to Heathrow by train - her flight having been cancelled.


She said: 'I just stayed here, because my friend in Preston called around hotels for me but they were all full.


'I just slept here on the seats, and there were quite a few other people dotted around. They should really have bought blankets and coffee around for us.


'At the end of the day, this is nobody's fault but it's very frustrating when there's no communication.'

Aberdeen airport also remained open but was 'very quiet'.


Glasgow Airport, meanwhile, was preparing to deal with a handful of flights made possible by a 'window of opportunity' in the volcanic ash.


Three flights diverted from Gatwick are expected to land at the site where conditions are better than further south.


An Air Transat flight from Glasgow to Toronto in Canada left this morning.


The three services due to land at Glasgow are Thomson Airways flights from the Dominican Republic, Orlando Sanford and Cancun in Mexico.


BAA Glasgow spokesman Donald Morrison said: 'The vast of majority of flights will not be operating, however between 1am and 1pm today there is a window of opportunity that might allow for some flights between Glasgow, the western isles, Northern Ireland and the North Atlantic if weather conditions permit.


'We have staff on stand-by to allow for flights to operate. We've got check in and security staff on the ground to facilitate that.'


He advised passengers to check with their airline before leaving for the airport as most flights are still suspended.


A limited number of flights are also running to and from Northern Ireland.


Last night the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) lifted restrictions on flights to and from Cork and Shannon Airports and some of the regional airports, but restrictions would remain in force in Dublin until late this morning.


But the services will do little to help hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded by the chaos.


Families returning from the Easter break will be particularly affected with many children due to return to school on Monday.


Reports from Iceland indicated there were little signs of the eruption at Mount Eyjafjallokull abating after two days of activity.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1266485/Iceland-volcano-Health-chiefs-extraordinary-warning-ash-begins-fall-parts-Britain.html#ixzz0lGj8bvor

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One million Britons stranded by ash and food shortages expected: Volcano flight chaos to last until next week



By Michael Seamark and Ray Massey

Last updated at 7:10 AM on 17th April 2010





  • Lockdown over British skies extended until at least 7pm tonight
  • Qantas cancels all flights to Europe until further notice

One million Britons were stranded abroad last night by the travel paralysis caused by volcanic ash.

The unprecedented air lockdown was extended until at least 7pm tonight, with Qantas cancelling all flights to Europe until further notice, and the chaos and confusion will drift well into next week.

Some holidaymakers in Spain were told they face a ten-day wait for a flight home and the delays - coming at the end of the Easter holiday period - intensified problems caused by the massive Icelandic eruption.



Stranded: Stacey Barker is stuck in Malaga, Spain, with her husband and children, Yasmin and Harrison. Some holidaymakers have been told they face a ten-day wait to return home. Read about the Barkers' ordeal below






Safety measures: An aircraft maintenance worker covers a jet engine at Belfast City Airport, Northern Ireland, yesterday as a cloud of volcanic ash made its way across Europe

Schoolchildren, and their teachers, will be missing from classrooms on Monday, and Britain faces shortages of air-freighted food as the impact of the vast spume of ash begins to bite beyond air travel.








Fruit and vegetables including lettuce, grapes, spring onions and asparagus may be missing from many supermarket shelves next week and firms specialising in flying in produce from overseas are also warning of higher prices.

The transport giant Norbert Dentressangle said activity at its perishable air freight handling centre at Heathrow, the UK's largest, was at a standstill. The result will be a three-day shortfall in the supply of products including prepacked fruit salads and flowers.

It said that while there are enough products on shelves and in warehouses to see stores through the weekend, supermarkets will be 'severely impacted' next week.




Spectacular: A satellite image of the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland



Widespread: Ash from the erupting volcano sweeps in an arc across the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and Russia in this image from NASA yesterday

Some desperate travellers were paying hundreds of pounds for taxis to bring them back via ferries from Ireland or to take them into Europe.

Forecasters say there is no imminent change in the wind direction to blow the vast cloud away from Britain and large swathes of northern Europe.

Day two of the chaos caused by the Mount Eyjafjallokull eruption saw the first reports of volcanic ash settling in the UK, as World Health Organisation officials suggested people consider wearing masks if they venture outside.


And as Transport Secretary Lord Adonis told travellers to expect ' significant disruption' for at least 48 hours, the cost to airlines alone was put at an astonishing £200million a day.


There was one chink of light when air traffic control company Nats lifted flight restrictions for much of Scotland and Northern Ireland. BA said it would operate 'a number of flights' from the U.S. into Scotland overnight. But the restrictions were reinstated after the toxic clouds returned.




Dusty: A car in Iceland drives through the ash from the volcano




Frozen: Ice chunks carried downstream by floodwaters caused by volcanic activity lie on the Markarfljot riverbank in Iceland yesterday









Coating: Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University collected these particles of volcanic ash (seen here under a microscope) which fell on cars in the centre's grounds earlier today



The assessment of the huge scale of the travel disruption came from the Association of British Travel Agents, which said as many as 150,000 people a day will have left the country in the seven days leading up to the blanket ban on air travel.


A spokesman said: 'We estimate there could be as many as a million British people stranded abroad.'




BRITAIN: English airspace is closed. Limited flights from Scotland and Northern Ireland


REP OF IRELAND: Restrictions eased with Dublin, Cork and Shannon to reopen


FRANCE: Twenty airports across northern France, including all Paris airports closed until 6am BST today


GERMANY: Many of the airports, including Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt have been closed. Aircraft can still land at Munich


DENMARK: Officials say the air space will stay closed at least until 6am today


SWEDEN AND NORWAY: Air space over Sweden and Norway is gradually reopening, starting with the northern parts of those countries


FINLAND: Airspace closed


BELGIUM: Closed until 8am today


ITALY: Alitalia has cancelled all its flights to London, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels

LUXEMBOURG: Air space closed until 4pm today


NETHERLANDS: Air space closed


POLAND: Air space now closed


SLOVAKIA: All flights from Bratislava cancelled


RUSSIA: Airports in Russia remain open. Kaliningrad airport was closed briefly on Friday morning but has reopened




The majority were stuck in Europe, with Spain particularly popular at this time of year. More than 100 flights were cancelled at Malaga airport on the Costa del Sol. Others are stranded in North America and may have to wait well into next week to return.


Eurocontrol, the organisation in charge of Europe's airspace, said it will hold crisis talks on Monday as more countries closed down national airspace and the volcanic ash cloud continued its south-eastern sweep 35,000 feet above the continent. Only 12,000 to 13,000 European flights operating yesterday instead of the 29,500 anticipated.


Pilots have reported smelling sulphur dioxide, a gas released by volcanoes, in cockpits, and scientists said traces of volcanic dust on the ground had been found in Sunderland, Sheffield, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Lerwick.


The World Health Organisation said Europeans should try to stay indoors if ash starts falling from the sky.


A spokesman said the microscopic ash was potentially dangerous because inhaled particles can reach the lungs and cause respiratory problems. There is a heightened risk for those with asthma and respiratory diseases.


For the second day running, travellers unable to fly scrambled for alternative transport.


Eurostar's 58 services were full yesterday, with more than 46,000 passengers on its trains. The company denied charges of ' profiteering' after customers found they could not book £58 tickets online and, when they phoned to book, were told they were no longer available and charged more than £200.


Eurostar said it did operate a system where prices rise and fall according to demand and supply, but added: 'We are not profiteering.'


Many more took ferries to reach the Continent. P&O Ferries said it was unable to accept any further foot-passenger bookings before Monday 'as a result of the unprecedented surge in demand due to the airline crisis'.


Coach company Eurolines increased its services, while minicab company Addison Lee received requests for journeys to cities as far away as Paris, Milan, Amsterdam and Zurich.


A group of stranded businessmen and doctors - who needed to get home to see their patients - paid a taxi £700 to take them from Belfast to London after they were stranded.


Experts at accountants KPMG say the cost to airlines alone is racking up at £200million a day. More than 500,000 passengers a day normally fly in and out of the UK on around 5,300 flights. The cost to them from extra delays and hotel bills is likely top £1billion.


And while airlines are re-booking and refunding customers, critics accused insurance firms of dragging their feet in deciding whether they would compensate travellers or invoke catchall 'Act of God' clauses to escape a pay-out.



Face of the volcano: A radar image shows the crater of Eyjafjallajokull in southeast Iceland which has caused the cloud of volcanic ash to spread over Europe





From Gatwick to Spain to New York...the British families stranded by ash





Ruined: Kelly Williams, centre, and Barry Stephens were due to fly to Antigua to get married

This was not the wedding photo Kelly Williams and Barry Stephens had hoped for.

The couple have been stranded at Gatwick since yesterday morning and look set to miss their dream wedding in Antigua in the Caribbean.

Miss Williams, a fitness instructor from Leicester, said: 'When they told me the plane had been cancelled I burst out crying. I've planned this for three years.

'I'd heard about the volcanic clouds so I was worried we might have problems flying out. But I never thought the flight would be cancelled. I am gutted.'

The 29-year-old, who posed for a photo with Mr Stephens, 28, and their other guests at Gatwick, said they were now trying to find another venue.

'We are going on a three-week European cruise so I am ringing round all the places we stop,' she said. 'I suppose we will have one hell of a wedding day story.'

Extra hotel costs






'Trip of a lifetime': Chris and Sam Capes are stranded in New York

Chris and Sam Capes flew to America for the trip of a lifetime over Easter.


But the couple and their three-year-old son, Isaac, who were supposed to return home with KLM on Thursday, are now stranded in New York until Tuesday at the earliest.


Mr Capes, a 34-year-old civil servant, said: 'I know there are worse places to be stranded but we have work commitments and need to get home.


'Of all the things that could have delayed our flight we never expected a volcanic eruption to ruin our plans.'


The couple, pictured on their wedding day, organised their road trip around America themselves and are having to foot the extra hotel costs themselves.


Mrs Capes, 33, a beauty therapist from Chester, said: 'I am self-employed so every day I'm away I'm losing money. We've had a fantastic time in America, but this is just a bitter end to our holiday of a lifetime.'


Stranded in Spain



Stacey and Darren Barker and their two children have been told they will be stuck in Spain for the next week following the closure of UK airports.

They had been due to fly from Malaga to Manchester with easyJet at lunchtime yesterday after a week-long break on the Costa del Sol.


However, the airline has told the family they will not get a flight until Friday. Mr Barker, 35, who owns a bakery in Sheffield, is desperate to get back to work, while their daughter Yasmin, six, should be returning to school on Monday.


Mrs Barker, 28, pictured with Yasmin and son Harrison, two, said: 'I don't understand why it has to take so long. A week is an awfully long time.


'People might think we're lucky to have an extra week's holiday but in reality it's disastrous for us. Darren runs his own business so we're losing money every day that we're here.'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1266568/Volcanic-ash-cloud-100-000-Britons-stranded-Europe-air-traffic-chiefs-extend-lockdown-7am.html#ixzz0lKsZ0LvG

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From where?:stunned:


Sarah is stranded in Liverpool. Maybe you could meet up with her!


Spain. They're flying to the wrong city as well. This really sucks.


Totally forgot she went.:embarrassed: I'd be up for it. Do you know how long she's staying? At least the weather's nice for once!

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