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Volcano disrupts airlines

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There will be widespread disruption to flights in Scotland today as ash from an Icelandic volcano reaches Britain.

Major airlines that operate flights to and from airports in Scotland have cancelled services this morning.

British Airways have suspended all flights between London and Scotland until at least 2pm.

Budget airlines have also made cancellations – Easyjet have suspended services going in and out of Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Flybe have cancelled 11 flights to and from Aberdeen and Inverness.

Meanwhile RyanAir have expressed its anger at having to cancel all services to and from Glasgow, Prestwick, Edinburgh and Aberdeen until 1pm today.

What may rile the airline a little more is that while BMI have made cancellations to their route to Aberdeen, they are still flying to and from Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Elsewhere, KLM and Eastern Airways have made cancellations to and from some airports in Scotland and Newcastle.

Aer Lingus has also cancelled 12 flights on various routes in and out of Scotland.

Logan Air have also stopped flights until at least 1pm, although trips to and from Orkney are still operating.

The drifting ash cloud from Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano forced US President Barack Obama to alter his travel plans , arriving in London early for his state visit.

Air traffic control company Nats has advised passengers to check with their airline before travelling to airports.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said Britons “have got to learn” to live with chaos caused by volcanic activity in Iceland.

“My understanding is that we have gone through an unusually quiet period for volcanic eruptions in Iceland over the last 20-odd years and we are moving into a period when there is likely to be significantly more volcanic activity.”

But he insisted there were now “much more robust systems” to “minimise the disruptive effect”.

Last April hundreds of thousands of flights were cancelled and millions of people were either left stranded or forced to cancel their travel plans altogether when the Eyjafjallajokul volcanic erupted.

Mr Hammond said the authorities have since gained a “much better understanding” of the risk from ash clouds and are better able to assess the thickness of different patches as well as the possibility of flying over or below a cloud.

In addition, scientists in Norway have developed equipment that enables pilots to be able to ‘see’ ash particles up to 100km away and avoid them.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) all British aircraft can fly in medium density ash.

However, Met Office charts show that the levels are higher than this below 35,000ft, meaning planes could have to navigate around the plume.

A CAA spokesman said the cloud, as it is now, could “potentially” cause serious disruption.

But he said: “We are in a totally different world as far as procedures go now compared with last year.

“If we have the same level of ash as we did last year, there will not be the same problem.

“Airspace will not be closed and we will notify airlines when the Met Office predicts there are medium or high levels of ash present.”

Source: Sky News

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