Flights Banned in Ireland, UK over Ash Risk

World | May 4, 2010, Tuesday // 08:27| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Flights Banned in Ireland, UK over Ash Risk All Ryanair flights into and out of the Irish Republic and Belfast in Northern Ireland until 1400 have been cancelled. Photo by EPA/BGNES

All flights in and out of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic are to be grounded from 0700 BST because of fresh risks from volcanic ash.

Airspace over the Outer Hebrides in Scotland is already closed, affecting operations from Stornoway, Tiree, Barra and Benbecula.

Flights in the rest of the UK are operating as normal.

An ash plume is drifting south from the same Icelandic volcano that wreaked havoc to European air travel in April.

Flights over Europe were banned for six days last month because of fears of the effect of volcanic ash on plane engines.

The decision to lift the restrictions followed safety tests that showed the engines could cope in areas of low density ash.

The fresh disruption comes as European Union transport ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss ways to improve air traffic management in the wake of last month's events.

In the Irish Republic, aviation authorities have re-imposed a ban from 0700 to 1300 BST (0600-1200 GMT) on Tuesday.

The IAA (Irish Aviation Authority) said flights from the UK and continental Europe flying across the airspace would not be affected.

And in the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority said all Northern Ireland airspace would be closed from 0700 BST.

Belfast International, Belfast City and City of Derry airports will all be closed until further notice.

Earlier, the CAA closed airspace over Scotland's Outer Hebrides from 1800 BST on Monday, disrupting flights to and from Barra and Benbecula.

In a statement, the CAA said the decision followed consultation with the UK Met Office and Nats, the air traffic control service

Hundreds of flights have been affected:

• All Aer Lingus flights to and from Dublin, Cork Shannon and Belfast airports to the UK and Europe scheduled before 1300 have been cancelled. Most transatlantic flights will operate.

• All Ryanair flights into and out of the Irish Republic and Belfast in Northern Ireland until 1400 have been cancelled

• Aer Arann services to and from Derry and Donegal airports were cancelled on Monday night

• EasyJet warned flights departing from Scotland and Northern Ireland on Tuesday could face disruption

• BAA, which operates six UK airports including Heathrow, Stansted and Glasgow, is advising passengers heading for Ireland to contact their airlines for advice.

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