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Travel chaos looms as Iceland volcano erupts

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by Kay Mitchell

There are further fears for air travel today after Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano erupted, which led to the shutdown of the country’s airports with 6,000 passengers affected by cancellations so far.

According to forecasters, the plume from the volcano could drift to northern Scotland tomorrow and the rest of Britain by the end of the week.

Last April, ash from the volcano located under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier about 100 miles east of the capital Reykjavik led to flight cancellations and had a major impact on airlines.

It forced the closure of Europe’s airspace for several days in April and May last year after many experts warned that ash cloud had the ability to damage jet engines.

As a result, thousands of flights were cancelled last year for safety reasons.

Returning to this weekend’s eruption, Europe’s air traffic control organisation said: “Ash cloud is expected to reach North Scotland on Tuesday 24th May. If volcanic emissions continue with same intensity, cloud might reach west French airspace and north Spain on Thursday 26th May.”

The Grimsvotn volcano, which is located under the uninhabited Vatnajökull glacier about 120 miles east of the capital, Reykjavik, last erupted in 2004, when transatlantic flights were re-routed but no airports were forced to close.

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News posted: May 23, 2011

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