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Ash cloud from Iceland volcano causes travel chaos

Hasan Suroor

LONDON: Thousands of travellers were on Tuesday stranded at airports across the United Kingdom after flights were cancelled because of threat from drifting ash following a volcanic eruption in Iceland.

Nearly all flights to and from Scotland were cancelled amid fears the disruption could spread to other regions, reviving nightmarish memories of the crisis last year when, for days, European air space was shut down after a volcano erupted in Iceland.

Weather experts said the changing wind patterns made it hard to predict the exact path of the ash cloud and concentrations would vary between regions. One view was the chaos would not be as bad as last year.

Around mid-day, European air traffic controllers put the number of cancelled flights at 252 but more cancellations were feared. The worst-affected airports included Londonderry, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Prestwick, Durham Tees Valley, Newcastle and Carlisle.

The Irish budget airline Ryanair, which claimed it had run a test flight and found “no volcanic ash”, was forced to cancel all flights to and from Scottish airports on advice from the Irish Aviation Authority.

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