London's Heathrow, Gatwick airports reopen

17th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

London's main airports Heathrow and Gatwick reopened Monday after being forced to close by the volcanic ash cloud, but airports in Northern Ireland and others around Britain remained shut.

Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, reopened at 07:00 am (0600 GMT) as did Gatwick, Britain's second-busiest air hub.

However restrictions remained on their flights because of their proximity to a dense section of the shifting ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland.

Airports inside the no-fly zone were shut until 1200 GMT with all airports in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man to remain closed until then.

Scotland's busiest airport, Edinburgh, plus Aberdeen and Inverness were closed while Wales's main airport Cardiff was shut, as was Swansea.

In England, Bristol in the southwest and Farnborough, southwest of London, were also closed until 1200 GMT.

The National Air Traffic Services, which manages British airspace, said: "The volcanic ash cloud continues to change shape and two key areas affect operations stretching from the south of England to Northern Ireland, and over much of mainland Scotland to the Shetland Isles.

"As a result, no-fly zones have been imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority in these areas, for the period 0700 until 1300 (0600-1200 GMT).

"Heathrow and Gatwick airports will be clear of the no-fly zone. However, restrictions will have to be applied due to their close proximity to the no-fly zone particularly affecting Gatwick inbounds."

© 2010 AFP

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