Australian experts warn more flight delays ahead, as ash cloud circles

08:35, June 14, 2011      

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Australian experts on Monday warned of more flight disruptions ahead, as the volcanic ash cloud from Chile, which has made its way across the Atlantic and Indian oceans, lingers over Australia and is set to re-circle the globe.

With 20,000 passengers and 100 flights have been canceled over the long weekend due to an ash plume from a Chilean volcano that began erupting a week ago, Qantas and Jetstar on Monday afternoon resumed flights to Melbourne, but their New Zealand and Tasmania services remain grounded. They will review all services again on Tuesday morning.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology's Volcanic Ash Advisory Center head, Dr Andrew Tupper, the crisis in Australian airports is not yet over.

Dr Tupper said the ash cloud will linger above Australia for several days, causing more flight disruptions.

"We believe that the airspace over Melbourne will be clear for the next 18 hours or so [but] beyond that there's no guarantees," he told ABC News on Monday night.

"This is a really, really large cloud. The leading edge of the cloud has traveled about 25,000 kilometers since its source, so it 's just a really big area."

Furthermore, he said while the ash cloud is on its way back to South America, it will likely return to Australia on its second circuit of the globe.

"I think it's fair to say there will be more disruption, so that's the bit of bad news," he said.

Meanwhile, Airservices Australia's Rob Walker said the ash cloud is moving in a circular motion around the globe.

He said the jetstream is transporting that ash very quickly around the globe and the winds are variable.

"It (the ash cloud) has actually circumnavigated the globe and will continue to be in the upper level for quite some time yet," he said.

The eruption is also causing travel chaos in parts of Argentina and Uruguay, and has also affected flights in the south of Brazil.

Source: Xinhua
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