REYKJAVIK, Iceland, April 20 – A new ash cloud spewed from a volcano in Iceland forced Britain to ground flights and operate a nearly flight-free zone Tuesday.
Limited air services began operating in Scotland and Newcastle, but aviation officials scrapped plans to reopen the rest of Britain’s airspace as a new ash cloud moved toward the country, The Times of London reported.
“The situation regarding the volcanic eruption in Iceland remains dynamic and the latest information from the Met Office shows that the situation today will continue to be variable,” Britain’s National Air Traffic Systems said in a statement.
Eurocontrol, Europe’s air regulation agency, expected as many as 60 percent of flights to be allowed Tuesday but while many flights remain grounded, some planes took off from Paris, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Frankfurt. Air traffic controllers said more than 10,000 of Europe’s 27,500 daily flights were scheduled to fly.
To address the situation created by volcanic ash drifting over Europe from Iceland, the European Union transport ministers created three levels of airspace: a no-fly area, a limited service zone and an open skies area after receiving criticism from the world’s airlines who say that it was safe to fly days ago.
In Spain, where all airports were open, the government offered European countries use of its airports to get passengers moving again.
The International Air Transport Association pegged losses at more than $1 billion since most of Europe’s airspace closed last week because of the volcano.