Icelandic ash cloud shuts some airports in Ireland

16th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

A cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland forced the closure Sunday of several airports in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, British and Irish authorities said.

The airports of Sligo, Donegal and Knock were closed Sunday and the airports of Dublin and Shannon were due to be open until at least 1200 GMT, said Irish civil aviation authorities.

In Northern Ireland, the Belfast International and Belfast Harbour airports were closed until 1200 GMT, as was Ronaldsway airport on the Isle of Man, Britain's National Air Traffic Services (NATS).

"A high density volcanic ash cloud is rapidly encroaching on Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man," it said in a statement.

"As a result, a no-fly zone has been imposed by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) in airspace over parts of Northern Ireland," it added.

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 which has already disrupted European air traffic for weeks.

The government said that airports in London, including Europe's busiest air hub, Heathrow, could be affected.

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

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