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Costly airline chaos continues

Costly airline chaos continues
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There has been no let-up in Europe’s air travel crisis with airspace in many countries closed on Sunday and into Monday.

And the warning was that the volcanic ash that poses a danger to planes could become more concentrated and may not move until later in the week.

Heading from Iceland, the huge cloud continues to spread, causing ever-growing disruption. Europe has known nothing like this since the September 11 attacks when airlines were forced to halt all transatlantic services.

Disruption worsened on Sunday and only 4,000 flights were expected in European airspace against 24,000 normally, Eurocontrol said.

The European aviation control agency reported the figures, which compared with 4,886 flights on Saturday, and said a total of 63,000 flights had been cancelled in European airspace since Thursday.

As air companies’ losses run into hundreds of millions of euros, the weather is the key to resolving the crisis. According to some forecasts an Atlantic storm and change in the direction of the jetstream on Thursday could break up the cloud.

British Airways said that it had cancelled all its flights for Monday because of the dangers of volcanic ash in the atmosphere and Ryanair said it would cancel all of its flights in northern Europe until at least the middle of Wednesday.