Ash disruption set to continue this week

Experts are warning of continued disruption to flights this week as the ash cloud caused by a volcano in Iceland continues to move across Europe.

Sixteen Spanish airports were closed yesterday, including Barcelona.

A range of airports in northern Italy and Spain remain closed this morning over concerns that the volcanic ash will affect aircraft engine performance, and France, Switzerland and Portugal could also be affected.

The National Air Traffic Service (Nats) said in a statement this morning that the main ash cloud still lay to the north-west of the UK, but confirmed it was monitoring the situation in case the cloud moved in a south-westerly direction.

The latest statement said: “The high density area of the volcanic ash cloud is now lying to the north-west of the UK and as a result, there are currently no restrictions within UK airspace apart from those affecting Inverness, Wick, Kirkwall, Stornaway, Benbecula and Barra airports, which lie within the no-fly zone from 0700 (local) to 1300.”

Both Ryanair and easyJet have cancelled some flights to Europe today, while the Met Office said Nats was providing information to aviation authorities to ensure transatlantic flights avoided the cloud.

A statement issued yesterday said volcanic activity appeared to be decreasing, but the situation remained volatile.

“Latest Information received from the Icelandic Meteorological Office states that that the explosive activity from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano has now decreased and the ash plume has reduced slightly in height to 20,000 to 25,000 ft,” the statement said.

“ The Icelandic Met Office state that there are no signs that the eruption is about to end, with the situation with the volcanic eruption remaining dynamic.”

It added: “Later in the weekend weather patterns are set to change and may bring the ash cloud back into parts of UK airspace toward the end of the weekend and into next week.”

Almost all flights were grounded for a six-day period last month in an unprecedented lockdown caused by the volcanic eruption.

Keep checking for the latest on this story.

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