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GreekReporter.comEuropeFresh volcanic ash closes airports in southern Europe

Fresh volcanic ash closes airports in southern Europe

A huge cloud of ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajoekul volcano has draped itself over a large swath of southwestern Europe, closing airports in Spain and Portugal and causing delays in intercontinental air travel.
European air traffic authorities say a mammoth cloud of volcanic ash stretching 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) across the North Atlantic has reached southwestern Europe, forcing airports to close and diverting flights to and from North America.
Fifteen airports in northern Spain were closed on Saturday, according to AENA, the country’s air traffic authority, including Bilbao, San Sebastian, Vigo, Saragossa, Pamplona and La Rioja. The airports are expected to remain closed until at least 6 pm Saturday. Small airports in northern Portugal were already closed with more likely to follow.
The French aviation agency said airports in southern France would remain open for the time being, but that Bordeaux, Toulouse and Marseille could be affected by Monday.

More delays possible
“Ash eruptions are ongoing and the area of potential ash contamination is expanding, in particular between the ground and 20,000 feet (6,400 meters), Eurocontrol, the European air traffic authority said.
Transatlantic flights are being re-routed around the affected area, causing substantial delays. On average, about 600 passenger aircraft, operated by more than 40 airlines, make the oceanic crossing between North America and Europe every day. The diversions force planes to carry extra fuel and can lengthen flights by up to two hours, air safety officials said.
Due to the current weather patterns, northern Europe has been spared the havoc it experienced last month when the Icelandic volcano first erupted. Earlier in the week, however, airports in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland were shut down briefly when ash was blown their way.
(source: dw)

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