Hungarian airspace to remain closed until at least Monday noon

08:49, April 19, 2010      

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Hungary will remain virtually a no-fly zone until at least Monday noon, the National Transport Authority announced Sunday.

As Hungary is on the edge of the volcanic ash cloud, air traffic controllers are contemplating allowing some small aircraft to take off, depending on their destinations, the local wire service MTI reported.

Pollution in the lower levels of the atmosphere has declined to the point in which low-altitude flying "by visual means" has been possible as of 8 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) Sunday, so this type of air travel is not subject to the ban, the authority said.

Air traffic controller Hungarocontrol has said that despite a relaxation of the ban, no flights above an altitude of 3,000 meters and no commercial passenger airliners are likely to take off before Monday noon.

However, small craft such as air ambulances and agricultural planes that stay below 3,000 meters will be allowed to fly, Hungarocontrol's Imre Feher said.

A spokesman for Budapest Airport, the company operating the Ferihegy International Airport, said the airport would remain open and is ready to go back into full operation once the ban is lifted.

Hungary's airspace has been closed since Friday and analysts in Iceland believe volcanic activity will continue.

Source: Xinhua


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