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UK warns of disruption from Icelandic ash cloud

UK warns of disruption from Icelandic ash cloud
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The plume of ash from the eruption of Iceland’s most active volcano is expected to hit parts of northern and western Europe imminently.

The area around the Grimsvotn volcano has come off worst so far, with ash plunging one town into darkness.

Authorities say UK flights are likely to be disrupted. The cloud’s due to hit Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia by Tuesday.

Iceland has experienced widespread disruption to air traffic.

Predictions for the rest of Europe are harder to make – although western France and northern Spain could be affected later in the week.

‘‘There is expected to be a change in the wind direction so there is some risk that the ash would to some extent come down towards Europe,” said Brian Flynn, the head of Eurocontrol’s Central Flow Management Unit. “But of course it is impossible to say at this stage to what extent how much ash cloud would in fact come to this part of Europe.’‘

Experts see little chance of a repeat of last year’s travel chaos caused by the eruption of another Icelandic volcano.

Then, 100,000 flights were cancelled affecting millions of passengers as European airspace was closed for six days.

But rules on flying through ash have since been relaxed. Authorities are cautiously optimistic that even though some disruption is possible, a blanket flight ban can be avoided.