herald

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Summer of chaos ahead as our airports shut again

TRAVEL MISERY: New ash cloud blows in after volcano erupts again

DUBLIN Airport was shut again this morning as experts warned volcanic ash could cause months of disruption.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) took the decision to close Dublin, Knock, Sligo and Donegal airports after the Iceland volcano began acting "in a peculiar way".

Holidaymakers face an uncertain summer of sporadic flight cancellations as it continues to erupt.



STRANDED

A small number of early morning flights did get away this morning before winds brought dense levels of ash over Ireland, leaving tens of thousands of travellers stranded.

And IAA chief executive Eamon Brennan warned: "We're probably facing a summer of uncertainty."

Shortly after midnight, the IAA reported "increased volcanic activity" which resulted in denser volcanic ash being expelled into the atmosphere.

As a result of advice from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London a decision was taken to close Dublin Airport from 11am until further notice.

Yesterday most travellers stayed away or managed to make alternative travel arrangements. Today's late announcement, however, meant that a large number of passengers showed up at Dublin Airport this morning, unaware that flights were being cancelled.

The IAA described it as "very unfortunate" that the decision was made so late but explained that their projected opening times were thrown "into disarray" by the volcano. Airspace over Scotland and Northern Ireland closed from 7am, while parts of northwest England and North Wales were on alert as the ash moved south.



WINDS

The situation is being monitored and experts said they hoped to lift restrictions in the late afternoon or early evening.

However, even if the airspaces reopens it may only be temporarily as Met Eireann predicts that winds will continue to come from a north-westerly direction tomorrow.

A forecaster told the Herald that winds will be variable over the next few days but should improve for the weekend.

kdoyle@herald.ie

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