Volcanic ash closes parts of N.Ireland airspace

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Parts of Northern Ireland's airspace will be closed early Sunday because of ash from an Icelandic volcano but no restrictions will be in place elsewhere in Britain, aviation officials said.

Despite the closure from 1:00 am to 7:00 am (0000 GMT to 0600 GMT), Belfast International and airports in Dublin in the Irish Republic will remain open, said National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which manages British airspace.

"A high density volcanic ash cloud is rapidly encroaching on Northern Ireland," said a statement on the NATS website.

"As a result, a no-fly zone has been imposed by the CAA in airspace over parts of Northern Ireland, however Belfast International and Dublin airports will remain open."

The government has warned that British airspace could be partially closed from Sunday until Tuesday, but NATS said "there are currently no other restrictions within UK airspace."

It was working closely with weather forecasters and the Civil Aviation Authority -- Britain's aviation regulator -- and would issue any further updates as necessary, it added.

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 smaller disruptions in certain parts of Europe.

© 2010 AFP

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