Ash to close Britain's Manchester Airport, others: authority
Several British airports, including Manchester and those in Northern Ireland, will close from 1200 to 1800 GMT due to the volcanic ash cloud, air authorities announced Sunday.
Manchester is Britain's busiest airport outside London and among the 20 busiest in Europe. London airports are so far unaffected.
Other airports affected as the no-fly zone extends southwards and eastwards are regional air hubs like East Midlands, Liverpool, Leeds-Bradford, Doncaster and Humberside.
They are largely in the north of England, while some Scottish airports, including their fourth busiest, Prestwick, and small island airports will shut.
All Northern Ireland airports will close for the period, including Belfast International and Belfast City. Isle of Man airport will also shut.
National Air Traffic Services, which manages British airspace, said it was working closely with the country's Met Office weather service and the Civil Aviation Authority -- Britain's aviation regulator -- and would issue any further updates as necessary.
"The CAA's no-fly zone required by the high density volcanic ash cloud will not affect London airports for the period 1300-1900 local time (1200-1800 GMT)," NATS said.
"The no-fly zone for this period has moved east to a line stretching from Prestwick on the west coast to Humberside on the east coast and south to a line just north of Birmingham.
"There are currently no other restrictions within UK airspace."
Britain's Department of Transport warned Saturday that British airspace was likely to face partial closures from Sunday until Tuesday due to the volcanic ash cloud.
The government said that London airports, including Europe's busiest air hub, Heathrow, could be affected.
In the Republic of Ireland, of the main three airports, Dublin is open until 1800 GMT, Cork until 0000 GMT and Shannon until 2200 GMT, the Irish Aviation Authority said.
Ireland West (Knock), Donegal and Sligo airports remain closed. Kerry is open until 0000 GMT, Galway until 1300 GMT and Waterford till 2200 GMT.
North Atlantic overflights through Irish-controlled airspace remain unaffected.
Europe's skies were closed for up to a week last month following the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano, in the biggest shutdown of the continent's airspace since World War II.
The volcanic ash, which can cause serious damage to jet engines, has continued to cause disruption on a smaller scale in certain parts of Europe.
© 2010 AFP