Australian airline, Qantas cancel flights for a third day

14:10, April 18, 2010      

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All Qantas flights bound for Europe have been canceled for a third consecutive day, as volcanic ash from an eruption in Iceland continued to create havoc with air travel, Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported on Sunday.

"Any passenger that is through booked to Europe on Sunday -- their flights are cancelled," a Qantas spokeswoman told AAP.

"This is looking like it's going to go on for several days. We do not recommend that they go in to Asia and try to wait it out there as it's still uncertain as to when the European air space is going to open."

Qantas said passengers should prepare for significant disruption, with the vast cloud of volcanic ash grounding flights across Europe in the biggest air travel shutdown since World War II.

The airline has warned that flights from Australia to Europe could be delayed up to a week. Qantas said it would make an announcement on Sunday afternoon regarding Monday's flights to Europe.

"At this stage we are at the mercy of the European authorities, " the spokeswoman said. "If you are flying to Europe please stay at home, please don't come to the airport."

For those who could delay their travel plans into the future, Qantas said it would rebook flights at no extra cost, or provide a full refund.

About 2,000 Qantas customers in Asian ports were being given the option of onward flights to other destinations or flights back to Australia.

The airline estimated at least 9,000 Qantas customers have been affected by the volcanic eruption, while about 100 international passengers stranded in Australia have been accommodated in Sydney hotels.

The Air Transport Association in Geneva estimated the current cost of the eruption to major airlines is around 214 million dollars (198 million U.S. dollars) a day, AAP reports.

Source: Xinhua


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