Irish airports face fresh ash cloud disruption

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Irish airports face fresh closures Sunday due to volcanic ash from Iceland that is still causing travel disruptions around Europe after nearly a month.

Donegal, Sligo and Ireland West (Knock) on the western coast face restrictions from 1400 GMT while Galway will be disrupted from 1500 GMT and Kerry from 2100 GMT.

Any further restrictions will be confirmed at 1330 GMT, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said.

"The volcano is still moderately active and by late Sunday, due to an expected change in wind direction, there is the risk that the plume may drift again over Irish airspace, and may affect Irish airports, especially on the west coast," said IAA.

"The past number of days has seen the growth of a large cloud of high ash concentration off the west coast of Ireland, and this has caused difficulty for some transatlantic operations."

There were also some disruptions to airports on the Scottish islands of Orkney and the Outer Hebrides as well as Inverness in the Highlands.

Ireland has faced several fresh shutdowns in recent days -- on Thursday airports were closed before being re-opened just three hours later.

Europe's skies were shut for up to a week last month following the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano. It was the biggest shutdown of airspace in Europe since World War II.

Volcanic ash can cause serious damage to jet engines.

© 2010 AFP

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