Flights remain grounded in Britain until Saturday due to Iceland volcano ash

17:56, April 16, 2010      

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Flights restrictions in Britain caused by a huge ash cloud from an Iceland volcano will remain in place until Saturday, The National Air Traffic Service (NATS) warned on Friday.

However, a small number of services will be permitted into and out of Northern Ireland and western Scotland. Five flights have taken off from Glasgow, including one to Canada.

Only 11,000 flights will operate in European airspace on Friday instead of the usual 28,000. Airspace in Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden is closed.

Poland is shutting most of its airspace. There are fears in Poland that some world leaders will be unable to attend Sunday's state funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who was killed in a plane crash last Saturday.

NATS, which restricted all British airspace on Thursday, will review the situation at 13:30 local time.

A spokesman at Heathrow Airport said 840 out of 1,250 flights on Thursday were affected, disrupting about 180,000 passengers.

So far an estimated 600,000 passengers have been affected across Britain. Rail and ferry services are reporting rises in their passenger numbers, with ferry operators Stena and Fastnet saying there were significant increases in customers on services departing from Wales.

Eurostar services are also full, with more than 10,000 bookings made on Thursday after the restriction went into force.

Transport Secretary Adonis said he was "closely monitoring the situation" and would be meeting key transport officials.

The volcano began erupting on Wednesday for the second time in a month in Iceland. It hurled a plume of ash about four to seven miles into the atmosphere, and this spread southeast overnight.

Volcanic ash contains tiny particles of glass and pulverized rock that can damage engines and airframes.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:黄硕)

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