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Volcano snarls air traffic again

Sun., May 9, 2010

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The Icelandic volcano with the unpronounceable name reminded the world again that it has the power to disrupt international travel – coughing out a spreading cloud of ash that delayed or canceled hundreds of flights between Europe and North America.

The prospects for today’s flights remained grim, with no improvement in sight for trans-Atlantic passengers, and with a plume of low-altitude ash continuing to float eastward over Spain and southern France.

Flights had to be rerouted north over Greenland or south around Spain to avoid the 1,200-mile-long cloud stretching from Iceland to northern Spain.

Approximately 600 airliners make the oceanic crossing every day. Around 40 percent were rerouted southward and the rest skirted Iceland from the north, according to Eurocontrol.

Aer Lingus canceled flights from the United States to Dublin, citing the circuitous routes to get around the cloud.

In Italy, the civil aviation authority ENAC said no flights would be allowed over a large swath of northern Italy today from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. because of the cloud.

In Spain, 19 airports in the north, including the international hub Barcelona, were closed on Saturday.


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