Volcanic ash grounds flights at Munich airport: authorities

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The airspace around the southern German city of Munich has been closed since 1300 GMT Sunday due to volcanic ash from Iceland, grounding flights at several airports, authorities said.

"Due to the high level of contamination from volcanic ash, there have been no flights taking off or landing at Munich airport," said the country's DFS air safety agency, adding the measures would be in force "until further notice."

The regional airports of Augsburg and Memmingen, as well as Stuttgart airport, were also affected, the agency said in a statement.

"The DFS will decide on how to proceed based on the weather conditions," the agency added.

After scores of flights in Portugal, Italy and France were cancelled earlier Sunday, the ash cloud from the Eyjafjoell volcano that caused air travel mayhem last month made an unwelcome return in Germany.

At Frankfurt airport, the continent's third-busiest, a total of 29 flights, mainly to destinations in southern Europe, were cancelled, according to a spokesman from Fraport, which manages the airport.

The volcano began fresh and intensive ash eruptions overnight Thursday and closed Ireland's airspace for a time, and was again affecting the island nation on Sunday.

© 2010 AFP

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