Main Dutch airports reopen after ash closure: authorities

17th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The main Dutch air hub of Schiphol and Rotterdam airport both reopened Monday after a seven-hour shutdown caused by volcanic ash from Iceland, Dutch officials said.

Ash clouds from the erupting Eyjafjoell volcano had forced the closure of the two airports plus that of Groningen, but two others, at Eindhoven and Maastricht, were not affected.

Air traffic control official Marjolein Wenting said Groningen was also open to small planes, but flight restrictions still applies over the north of the country.

Some 500 flights scheduled at Schiphol had been cancelled, leading to disruptions for 60,000 passengers, but airport spokeswoman Marianne de Bie said check-ins had resumed.

Despite the closure of the Dutch air space, three KLM planes from Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa and Calgary in Canada landed at Schiphol before midday, according to the Dutch carrier.

The decision to close the airports was based on information from the Dutch meteorological service, Spaans said.

Airports in Britain and Ireland had also been forced to close down because of the risks from the clouds of ash, caused by a surge in activity from Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano.

London's main airports Heathrow and Gatwick reopened Monday, but airports in Northern Ireland and others around Britain remained shut.

Much of European airspace was shut for up to a week in April when Eyjafjoell first erupted.

It was the biggest shutdown of the continent's airspace for more than 50 years.

© 2010 AFP

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