Finland, Austria re-open airspace as others still maintain restriction

17:49, April 19, 2010      

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Airports at the Finnish cities of Turku and Tampere will be re-opened between 12:00 and 18:00 (0900-1500 GMT) on Monday, after the country's airspace was closed on Thursday due to the volcanic ash cloud.

The temporary re-opening was announced by the country's airport operator Finavia.

Elsewhere, Austria also re-opened its airspace after the ash cloud had forced the closure last week.

Takeoffs and landings will be allowed starting at 17:00 (0300 GMT) on Monday but the Vienna International Airport website indicated that many of the flights still remain canceled after Austria's civil aviation authority Austro Control imposed the airspace restriction on Friday last week.

Germany and other countries in Europe still keep their airspaces closed to flights despite the move by Finland and Austria.

Germany's air safety agency DFS extended on Monday its airspace closure to 1800 GMT. DFS previously announced that airspace would be closed till 1200 GMT.

The air safety agency, however, allowed six German international airports to re-open for limited hours on Sunday.

Volcanic ashes from Iceland, carried by winds, have spread across the skies of most Europe, forcing grounding of most civil aviation flights and closing-down of airspaces.

The ashes are feared to be harmful to jet engines and body frames.

The Jakarta incident was the earliest reported mid-air engine stall as a British Airways Boeing 747 had all four engines stalled after having flown through a volcanic ash cloud over Indonesia in 1982.

A KLM Boeing 747-400 ran into a nearly identical incident seven years later when it dashed into a volcanic ash cloud over Alaska.

In both cases, the crew managed to re-start the engines after their planes were out of the ash clouds.

Civil aviation authorities across Europe had to resort to such extreme measures as closing down airspace and grounding nearly all civil flights for the past few days for air safety.

Source: Xinhua


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