Volcanic eruption causes chaos at European airports

AIRPORTS and airlines in northern Europe were thrown into chaos on Thursday 15 April, as a large volcanic ash cloud swept down from the northeast rendering vast swathes of airspace unusable.

All flights in and out of the UK and several other European countries were suspended as ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland moved south. The cloud of volcanic ash spread across the UK and continued to travel south.

On the first day over 4,000 flights were cancelled with airspace closed in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark among others.

As of 15 April, reports said that the airspace over the UK would be shut until the ash cloud had dispersed or changed direction. Experts have warned that if the ash cloud continues on its present path the closure could extend for days and take in other northern European countries including Belgium, France and Germany.

The UK air traffic service, NATS, said: “In line with international civil aviation policy, no flights other than agreed emergencies are currently permitted in UK controlled airspace.”

The closure of airports has caused major problems for cargo airlines and freight forwarders. With no clear picture of how far the ash cloud would spread and how long it would last, airlines were beginning to make contingency plans, including a massive ramp up in road feeder services. 

For the full story read the free latest digital edition of Air Cargo News, dated 19 April, here.

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