Volcanic Ash Disrupts Flights in Europe

 - April 15, 2010, 12:19 PM

At least 4,000 flights in northern European airspace were cancelled today after a large cloud of ash from an erupting volcano in Iceland drifted to the south and east. UK airspace was completely closed from noon local time and, at press time, was not due to reopen until at least 7 a.m. tomorrow. There has also been a total shutdown of the airspace of Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Belgium at different times, and partial closures for the Netherlands and Finland. However, Prestwick Airport, near Glasgow in Scotland, got clearance late today to open for flights that would not be going into the ash-affected areas. This was after airspace to the west of Scotland cleared. Operators were advised to file a flight plan as normal, with air traffic controllers liaising with the en route ATC center at Prestwick to clear the flights. Handling and flight support is available through local FBO Ocean Sky at Prestwick, with assistance available from managing director Eddie Allison. Meteorologists have warned that the ash clouds could continue to drift across northern Europe from Iceland through Sunday.