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Europe's airports stay shut as ash cloud persists

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Europe's airports stay shut as ash cloud persists


Nearly all of Europe’s main airports remain shut on Saturday as a cloud of volcanic ash continues to put passengers’ travel plans on hold.

On day three of this unprecedented disruption, some were still trying their luck at the check-in desk. But, in an increasing number of northern, central and now eastern European countries, aircraft remains grounded

Britain, Denmark and Germany were among the countries to announce their airspace was closed for the whole of Saturday and German carrier Lufthansa said it had no planes in the air anywhere in the world. “There has never been anything like
this,” a spokesman said.

The volcano is still erupting and Icelandic weather forecasters says winds will probably keep sending the ash Europe’s way for up to five days to come.

The European aviation control agency Eurocontrol warned this morning of at least 24 further hours of disruption. It said it expected 6,000 flights in European airspace today, against 22,000 normally.

As well as scuppering travel plans, the ash cloud, able to wreak havoc on jet engines and airframes, is costing airlines hundreds of millions of euros.

Even when flight bans are lifted, should the volcano continue to erupt, experts say occasional disruption could occur for the next six months or more.

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