It's ash again over European skies

May 16, 2010 06:39 pm | Updated November 11, 2016 06:01 am IST - London

ASH STRIKES AGAIN: A woman walks in a deserted Belfast City Airport, Northern Ireland on Sunday.

ASH STRIKES AGAIN: A woman walks in a deserted Belfast City Airport, Northern Ireland on Sunday.

In a replay of last month's travel chaos, hundreds of passengers had their travel plans disrupted on Sunday after a number of major airports across the U.K. were closed because of renewed threat from Icelandic volcanic ash that caused such havoc to international air travel last month.

Air space over much of England, Ireland and parts of Scotland was closed intermittently and the disruption was likely to continue for at least another two days. Passengers were asked to check with airlines before heading for airport.

The worst-affected was Northern Ireland where all the three airports — Belfast International, George Best Belfast City Airport and City of Derry Airport — were closed for varying hours.

London airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick, functioned normally but the authorities were keeping their fingers crossed amid warnings that the ash cloud could hit the London airspace by Tuesday.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond described the situation as “fluid'' and said the passengers' safety was the foremost priority though some airlines called the ban an over-reaction.

In England, nearly half-a-dozen airports were shut. These included East Midlands, Manchester, Liverpool, Doncaster, Humberside and Carlisle airports.

In the Irish Republic, Donegal, Sligo and Ireland West airports were affected. The Met Office warned that the ash cloud could spread to other areas over the next 24 hours. A spokesman of the National Air Traffic Authority said: “Unfortunately, yet again, a mixture of volcanic activity and weather systems have conspired to bring a cloud of ash down towards the UK.”

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