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Updated: May 5, 2010 10:24 IST

Volcanic ash grounds flights in Britain, Ireland

DPA
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Asgeir Gudmundsson, a member of a volunteer rescue team, cleans volcanic ash, from the roof and gutters at the Onundarhorn dairy farm, south of the Eyjafjallajokull glacier near Hvolsvollur, Iceland. File photo: AP.
Asgeir Gudmundsson, a member of a volunteer rescue team, cleans volcanic ash, from the roof and gutters at the Onundarhorn dairy farm, south of the Eyjafjallajokull glacier near Hvolsvollur, Iceland. File photo: AP.

Flights in parts of Britain and Ireland are to be grounded on Tuesday as ash from an Icelandic volcano drifted into the region’s airspace, only weeks after the volcano’s eruption caused the closure of airspace across Europe. Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority said airspace would be closed over Northern Ireland as of 0600 GMT, due to rising levels of volcanic ash in the atmosphere. A no—fly zone over Scotland’s Outer Hebrides was imposed as of 1700 GMT on Monday.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) banned all takeoffs and landings from 0600 GMT to 1200 GMT. The IAA said the bans were based on information by the Volcanic Ash Advice Centre. IAA chief Eamon Brennan said he was optimistic that the cloud would dissipate soon. Flight schedules in mainland Europe remain unaffected, the aviation authorities said. Overflights of the United Kingdom and Ireland were also possible. Ash from the volcano at Iceland’s Eyjafjallajoekull glacier caused a shutdown of European airspace for six days last month, stranding hundreds of thousands of passengers and leading to billions of losses for airlines and industries. The European Union’s transportation ministers are to meet in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss improved air traffic crisis management.

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