More disruption to B.A. flights but this time not due to cabin crew action, this time it’s a natural disaster.
Airports in the U.K. and northern Europe shut down as a cloud of volcanic ash swept south from an eruption in Iceland, disrupting travel for thousands of people booked on flights.
U.K. airspace is closed until at least 7 a.m. tomorrow, according to flight-control body National Air Traffic Services, while Norway and Sweden also shut airports as the ash threatens to stall jet engines and affect the air quality in plane cabins. British Airways scrapped flights for the rest of the day as well as other major carriers.
Iceland’s 5,500-foot, ice-covered Eyjafjöll volcano erupted for the second time in four weeks, prompting the evacuation of more than 800 people as river levels rose three feet.
At the moment there is no indication of how long it will take to clear. Disruption was worst in the U.K., which has more than 5,000 flights a day. Flights from the U.S. should have been grounded from 7 a.m. eastern time, coinciding with the closure of Britain’s skies, and any planes already in the air would be diverted elsewhere.
British Airways, Europe’s third-biggest airline, said it can’t be sure that services will resume tomorrow. Customers booked to travel on a canceled flight will be able to claim a full refund or rebook for a later date.
The latest eruption is a further blow to a country struggling to rebuild a crippled economy after financial collapse prompted the world’s fifth-richest nation per head in 2007 to turn to the International Monetary Fund.