The volcanic ash that closed some European airports over the weekend and disrupted transatlantic flights has settled mid-ocean and could still create havoc on some air routes between Europe and North America today. While most flights are expected to operate, delays are expected because aircraft will have to make significant re-routings to avoid the ash cloud area.
Air traffic charts show both westbound and eastbound diverting far to the north, over Greenland, to avoid the danger zone around the Icelandic volcano whose eruptions forced a five-day suspension of air traffic in Europe last month.
The Association of European Airlines said the losses caused by this weekend’s disruptions, which affected less than 2% of scheduled flights, were likely to be negligible.
Eurocontrol said all airports in Europe were operating normally Monday, including those in Spain. Up to 20 Spanish airports, including international hub Barcelona, had closed over the weekend. Lisbon airport also reopened after being forced to close Sunday.
U.K. newspaper The Guardian reported that some 1,500 flights were cancelled yesterday due to airport closures stretching from Scotland to northern Italy, Spain and Portugal. And while all European airports were open this morning, ash is predicted to cause more problems later today, with Portugal and Spain likely among the most affected areas.
Airlines struggled to keep to their timetables after another weekend of travel disruption. Flights to and from the US, Canada and the Caribbean were often several hours late.
Airports and airlines continued to urge passengers to check the latest information before travelling to their airport. A spokesman for Britain’s Meteorological Office told The Guardian: “We’re all at the mercy of the volcano and there is just no way of knowing how long it will continue to erupt. It’s very much a day-to-day situation at the moment. The volcano died down a bit for a spell and has now got more active.”