Gulf airliners cancel dozens of flights to Europe due to volcanic ash

14:50, April 18, 2010      

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Airliners in the Gulf countries have joined their counterparts worldwide to keep their flights to European destinations grounded on Saturday as the ash plume from an Icelandic volcano stranded millions of passengers.

Qatar Airways said it has cancelled more than 40 flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday to and from European destinations.

"There are currently flying restrictions in European airspace due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland, which is affecting flight departures and arrivals to selected destinations," the national carrier said on its website.

Affected destinations include Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Manchester, Munich, Paris and Stockholm, and passengers were asked to contact the 24-hour information center for the status of their flights.

In Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, more than 40,000 passengers booked on the Emirates Airline have been affected by the closure of European airspace due to the spreading volcanic ash cloud.

Emirates Airline, one of the major carriers in the Gulf, has cancelled all its flights from Dubai to Britain and other European countries till Monday.

The carrier said a contingency plan is underway to get flights and passengers moving as quickly as possible once European airports return to normal operation.

In Bahrain, Gulf Air said Saturday all its flights to and from Heathrow, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Frankfurt airports have been rescheduled until further notice.

The airline said it would closely follow the developments and in constant contact with the respective aviation authorities.

The volcanic ash cloud that was spreading across Europe and caused the biggest travel chaos in years also forced the cancellation of all flights between Kuwait City and London, Rome, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

It remains unclear whether the operations in major airports would return to normal on Sunday.

Airliners, especially those in the European countries, are facing huge losses due to the disruptions in their daily operations.

The International Air Transport Association estimated the air chaos was costing the industry around 200 million dollars a day.

Source: Xinhua


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