Irish airports to reopen after ash closure: official

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Irish airports are to reopen for normal operations from 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) Tuesday after a six-hour closure due to ash from an Icelandic volcano, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said.

An IAA statement said it had "cleared Irish airports to open for full operations from 1300 hrs local time (1200 GMT) today Tuesday 4th May.

"Dublin, Shannon, Cork, Knock, Donegal, Waterford and Kerry may resume normal operations."

Flights in and out of Ireland and Northern Ireland were grounded from 0600 GMT due to the return of the volanic ash which left thousands of travellers stranded around the world last month.

Airspace over the Outer Hebrides, a group of islands off the western coast of Scotland, was also closed.

Britain's Civil Aviation Authority, in charge of airspace over Northern Ireland and Scotland, is expected to make a fresh announcement on the situation there later.

The latest bans did not disrupt flights over Ireland and Northern Ireland.

IAA chief executive Eamon Brennan said the ash cloud was moving south but the country "remains at risk" for the rest of the week and could face further disruption in the coming months.

"The reason we have changed our advice is because the ash cloud has moved towards the south, down towards the Bay of Biscay," he told RTE state radio.

"At the moment the volcano is more or less dormant but should it re-erupt again we'd be faced with this problem."

© 2010 AFP

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