Ash cloud closes Dutch airports again
The Netherlands and Britain closed or planned to close major airports Monday because of volcanic ash from Iceland, threatening large-scale air traffic disruption in Europe at the start of the working week.
With Ireland's Dublin airport already shut, the new closures brought an echo
of last month when ash from the same volcano prompted a number of European
countries to close their airspace for nearly a week, creating travel chaos
in Europe and beyond.
With Ireland's Dublin airport already shut, the new closures brought an echo of last month when ash from the same volcano prompted a number of European countries to close their airspace for nearly a week, creating travel chaos in Europe and beyond.
Airports in Amsterdam and Rotterdam would close Monday for at least eight hours from 6 am, Dutch state television announced. Other Dutch airports would not be affected, stated the broadcast, but, as Amsterdam and Rotterdam were the country's two main airports, the closures would effectively bring to a standstill most air traffic in and out of the Netherlands. Amsterdam Schiphol is Europe's third-largest cargo airport and fifth-largest passenger hub. In a statement on its website, Dutch airline KLM said, "We are currently working on a diversion plan for all affected flights to Amsterdam".60,000 passengers are said to be affected. The airports opened again at 2.00 pm.
Britain said it had closed London's Heathrow airport, Europe's busiest, and Gatwick airport to the south of the capital, from 1 am to 7 am Other parts of British airspace were shut at the weekend.
More than 100,000 flights were cancelled across Europe last month because of the volcanic ash forming a cloud over the continent. Millions of people were stranded and airlines, already battered by the global economic downturn, lost 1.7 billion US dollars, according to the International Air Transport Association.
The ash plume from the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland has reached heights of 7,620 metres, according to Britain's Meteorological Office. Its volcanic ash contains tiny particles of glass and pulverised rock, which can damage engines and airframes.