Britain has been plunged into flight chaos after a volcano erupted in Iceland, sending a plume of ash into the air. The reduction to visibility could cause a serious headache for people who are taking a late Easter holiday.
Major airports in the United Kingdom
including London Gatwick
, Belfast, Stansted and Edinburgh
airports were forced to cancel flights due to the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.
All international flights from Scottish airports have been grounded.It is estimated than tens of thousands of passengers across the UK will be affected by delays and cancelled flights.
The volcano, which is not far from Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, sent a huge cloud of debris in to the air which is causing visibility problems and drifting towards continental Europe.
A spokesperson from London Stansted International Airport said. “Following advice that we have been given by the Metrological Office, the National Air Traffic Service has introduced United Kingdom airspace restrictions this morning. This is a result of volcanic ash drifting from Iceland across Great Britain.” They added: “These measures affect Edinburgh airport, Aberdeen airport and Glasgow airport which are all currently closed. Other United Kingdom airports may also be affected as the situation develops further.”
The two largest United Kingdom airports, London Heathrow and London Gatwick have between them called off some 250 flights. Other British airports which have already reported major visibility problems are Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, Cardiff and Exeter.
Metrological Office forecaster Philip Avery explained that the ash could clog up the air space for quite some time.
He said: “The volcanic ash is showing up on our satellite imagery at the moment. Right now it extends down as far as the Faroe Islands but it looks as though wind will pull it a lot further south. My Avery added: "The National Air Traffic Service has a good reason to be very cautious about this because in 1982 a British Airways jumbo jet had all four engines put out of commission as it flew through a plume of volcanic ash."
The volcanic eruption in Iceland follows a smaller eruption last month in an ice fissure, as reported on Icelandic Traveller.
At the time scientists were worried that that eruption might be a precursor to a larger explosion. The original eruption came out of a fissure in a glacier. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano had been dormant for 200 years previously, but has now attracted tourists, scientists and photographers from all over the world who want to study it and take pictures. Iceland is well known for its volcanic activity as it is positioned over a highly active area called the Mid Atlantic Ridge.