Several more international and domestic flights through Australian airports were cancelled on Tuesday due to an ash cloud from a Chilean volcano moving into the country’s airspace that has bedevilled airlines for a week.
Ash from the Cordon Caulle volcano grounded hundreds of flights and stranded tens of thousands of passengers last week when it hovered over several Australian cities and New Zealand. By Friday, all flights were running normally, but the ash has lapped the globe and is causing more problems.
Australian flagship carrier Qantas said on Tuesday that it had suspended all services to and from the southern city of Adelaide, all flights through the national capital, Canberra, starting at noon, and all flights through Sydney, Australia’s largest city, from mid-afternoon. All Qantas flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra were cancelled for Wednesday.
Qantas flights to Europe via Bangkok were moved up to early afternoon, while six flights to New Zealand were cancelled.
Qantas budget subsidiary Jetstar made similar cancellations in Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra. Jetstar cancelled a handful of flights between Melbourne and Perth.
Budget airline Tiger said it grounded its entire fleet at least until early afternoon because the planes were in cloud-affected areas.
Virgin Australia cancelled all flights to Adelaide, and flights through Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne from early afternoon.
Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the Bureau of Meteorology expects airports in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney will be affected by the volcanic ash for up to two days, though he noted weather conditions were unpredictable.
“Safety must be our first priority,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Chile said Sunday that the Cordon Caulle volcano, which began erupting June 4, was becoming less active.