New Ash Risk Closes British, Irish Airspace

LONDON

Britain and Ireland were closing parts of their airspace on Wednesday after a fresh cloud of ash arrived from the Icelandic volcano that caused air travel chaos in Europe last month.

British regulators ordered an airspace shutdown over parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland from 7am for 12 hours for most affected airports, warning that high ash levels could damage plane engines.

“Forecasts show that levels of ash in the atmosphere over Scotland and Northern Ireland will exceed the concentrations that engine manufacturers have agreed are safe for operations,” said Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

“Unfortunately, this means that the CAA anticipates all Scottish and Northern Ireland airports will be closed from 07:00 local time (Wednesday).”

According to meteorologists, the cloud over Britain had “increased in density as ash emissions from the Icelandic volcano… have become stronger,” said the air watchdog in a statement.

Irish aviation chiefs meanwhile said restrictions would be introduced at some airports from 8am.

The new shutdowns followed a closure of Irish, Northern Irish and some Scottish airspace for several hours Tuesday, which caused the cancellation of hundreds of flights and travel misery for thousands of passengers.

Airspace across Europe was closed for up to a week last month after the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano, but was re-opened after emergency talks between European governments, airlines and regulators.

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