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Volcano ash grounds more Middle East-Europe flights
Majority of European services still suspended; Iceland eruptions could continue ‘for months’.
April 18, 2010 5:15 by Ben Flanagan
The majority of flights between Europe and the Middle East remain grounded on Monday, as the spread of the ash cloud continues to cause havoc following the volcanic eruption in Iceland last week.
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said in a statement that “flight cancellations remain in place to the UK, Ireland, Belarus and the majority of its European destinations until further notice”. The airline has reinstated some services to Moscow, with a normal operating schedule resuming on Monday.
Dubai-based Emirates said that all of its flights to the UK and most other European destinations are cancelled until April 20. Flights to Moscow, Athens, Larnaca, Malta and Istanbul are operating as normal.
With much of European airspace still closed, other airlines have also been forced to suspend services until further notice. British airspace is closed until at least 2400 GMT on Sunday, while Ireland and Switzerland have closed airspace until midday on Monday.
More than 17,000 flights to and from European airspace have been cancelled, losing airlines an estimated $200 million a day.
Scientists fear there could be more eruptions in Iceland. Sigrun Hreinsdottir, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland, told reporters: “From what we’ve seen, it could erupt, pause for a few weeks, and then possibly erupt again. It could go on for months.”