Volcanic ash from Iceland halts air traffic in Finland

09:34, April 16, 2010      

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An ash cloud from the volcanic eruption in Iceland on Wednesday shut down all of Finland' s airports on Thursday, halting air traffic in the country.

According to Finnish Civil Aviation Administration, the airspace of Finland has been closed due to the cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland, which could shut down airline engines. Besides that, poor visibility caused by the ash could also pose risk to aviation security.

Closure is now applying to all airports across Finland, including Finnish capital's Helsinki-Vantaa airport. Finnish Civil Aviation Administration decided late Thursday evening that Helsinki-Vantaa airport will be closed by mid-night, when the ash starts to affect southern part of Finland. The restrictions are expected to last until 3 pm Friday.

Hundreds of flights have been grounded in Finland on Thursday, including tens of international flights to and from Finland as air travel has also been halted in several other European countries, including Norway and Britain.

Finnish flag carrier Finnair said that it has canceled 40 round- trip flights on Thursday, including flights to Oslo and London, affecting about 8,000 passengers. All of its flights are expected to be grounded on Friday as Helsinki-Vantaa airport to be shut down.

Finnish State Railways has increased the number of carriages on its long distance train services to cope with the additional passenger demand caused by disruption to air traffic. The rail operator is also planning extra departures for Friday to compensate for the lack of flights.

Finnish Air Force has also halted all its aviation training and exercises due to the cloud of ash.

Source: Xinhua


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