Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Historian Jean Garrigues: 'It is possible to be a French Socialist and accept the rules of the market'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

New French economy minister signals changes to 35-hour week

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Valls ♥ Business

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

  • Russian troops have entered Ukraine, says Kiev

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • Erdogan's inauguration paves way for constitutional change

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

Europe

Europe's main airports to remain closed into Saturday

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-04-16

A thick cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland shut down airports across Europe for a second day on Friday. France has banned flights leaving airports in Paris and across the north until 2pm on Saturday local time.

Have your travel plans been disrupted by the volcanic ash cloud? Are you stuck at the airport? Tell FRANCE 24 about your ordeal by posting your story below in the comment section.

Thick clouds of volcanic ash from Iceland have forced the cancellation of thousands of flights across Europe for a second day.

France has extended its ban on flights leaving airports in Paris and across the north of the country until 1pm on Saturday local time. Britain extended its flight ban until noon GMT, but said some transatlantic flights would be allowed into Scotland and Northern Ireland beginning on Friday night as the ash began to clear.

The volcano began erupting Wednesday below the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in the south of the island, sending a huge plume of ash 6 to 11 kilometres (4 to 7 miles) into the air.

England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Austria, France, Germany and Poland were among the countries affected.

“Volcanic ash poses a very real threat to airplane engines,” journalist and former geologist Ted Neil told FRANCE 24.

“It’s just not a chance worth taking,” he said.

Neil, who is the editor of Geo Scientist, a magazine published by the UK-based Geological Society of London, described the threat posed by volcanic ash as “one of the most unpredictable and potentially lethal” to airborne planes.

Chaos

The disruption to air traffic will last at least another 24 hours, the European aviation control agency Eurocontrol confirmed on Friday.

According to Eurocontrol, at least 17,000 flights will be grounded across Europe Friday. Normally, there would be 28,000 planes carrying passengers in European airspace.

France’s civil aviation authority extended the ban on flights taking off from airports in Paris and across the north of France until 8am on Saturday local time (6am GMT). Selected flights were allowed to land at the Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Bourget airports until 6pm on Friday.

While some passengers spent the night on airport benches, a lucky few received early warnings. “My travel agency called me just as I was taking a taxi to the airport,” said FRANCE 24 journalist Jean-Baptiste Marot, who was due to leave for holiday Thursday evening.

Stranded passengers scrambled to find other options, such as renting cars and taking trains. Large crowds of disgruntled passengers converged on Paris’s Gare du Nord station where the Eurostar cross-Channel rail service laid on three extra Paris-London trains to ease the chaos.

THE THREAT OF VOLCANIC ASH

British aviation authorities have also extended their flight ban, with travellers in the UK unable to fly until Saturday. However, in the first bit of good news for weary travellers, Sweden began to reopen its airspace Friday.

Airlines across Asia also cancelled or delayed flights to most European destinations, leaving hundreds of thousands of passengers stuck. 

In Poland, a senior presidential aide said the funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski would go ahead this weekend. Earlier in the day, Polish authorities were "seriously considering" postponing the funeral as the ash threatens to disrupt the travel arrangements of the dozens of world leaders scheduled to attend.

A blow to a recovering industry

The widespread flight delays and cancellations come at a critical time economically for airlines. Most of the big players were struggling to turn a profit even before the economic crisis struck last year. The International Air Transport Association reported just a matter of days ago that the industry was just now emerging from recession.

 

Date created : 2010-04-16

  • AVIATION

    Lessons from a flight through ash clouds

    Read more

  • AVIATION

    Analysis: why ash is a threat to planes

    Read more

  • AVIATION

    Images and stories from the travel chaos sparked by the ash cloud

    Read more

COMMENT(S)