Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Coverage of Gaza in the Israeli media

Read more

REPORTERS

1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

  • Hamas denies capturing Israeli soldier as Gaza truce lies in tatters

    Read more

  • Scores killed in China factory explosion

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Police 'chokehold' caused NYC death, coroner rules

    Read more

  • French most keen to erase their online footprint, says Google

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Rogue general denies Islamist seizure of Benghazi

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • 1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • Video: Tipping is dying out in French café culture

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

Europe

Obama curtails Irish visit as ash cloud harms UK travel

Video by Olivia Salazar-Winspear

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-24

US President Barack Obama has cut short his visit to Ireland due to a cloud of volcanic ash drifting from Iceland that threatened to ground all British flights and wreak travel chaos across northern Europe.

AFP - US President Barack Obama was forced to leave Ireland a day ahead of schedule Monday to fly to London as a cloud of ash from an Icelandic volcano drifted towards Britain.

The president decided to bring forward his flight to Britain, where he was originally due to arrive early Tuesday, after forecasters predicted ash from the Grimsvoetn volcano was set to enter Scottish airspace and drift south.

"Due to a recent change in the trajectory in the plume of volcanic ash, Air Force One will depart Ireland for London tonight. The schedule for tomorrow will proceed as planned," the White House official said.

Under the changed plans, Obama was to depart Dublin for London on Monday evening as part of his six-day European tour of four countries.

After his state visit to Britain he is due to fly to France on Thursday.

Volcanic ash is expected to reach Scottish airspace by 2300 GMT on Monday, according to the British air traffic control operator NATS.

When an Icelandic volcano erupted last year, the plume of ash arrived in Scotland before spreading quickly across Britain, shutting down the whole country's airspace.

The ash then drifted across most of Europe, sparking the biggest shutdown of airspace since World War II.

Grimsvoetn has so far forced only the closure of Iceland's airspace at the weekend, parts of which were reopening on Monday.

The change to Obama's plans came shortly after a Scottish airline announced it was axing a handful of flights early Tuesday and Britain warned the ash was already causing minor flight disruptions.

Glasgow-based regional airline Loganair, which serves mainly Scottish destinations, said it had axed 36 services early Tuesday.

"For tomorrow the volcanic ash forecasts issued by (forecasting service) the Met Office this afternoon indicate that a high density of ash will be present in large parts of Scottish airspace," said a statement from the airline.

"As a result of this, we have taken the decision to cancel all services with the exception of our inter-isles flights in Orkney," an archipelago off the northern Scottish coast.

British transport minister Philip Hammond said there had been some delays to flights but added Britain was better prepared after last year's travel chaos when Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano caused major disruption.

"There have already been some modest delays to flights, particularly those crossing the Atlantic, due to the need for those flights to avoid areas of high ash concentration," he said.

"Clearly, this is a natural phenomenon which we cannot control, but the UK is now much better prepared to deal with an ash eruption than last year," he said.

Britain's Civil Aviation Authority said that since last year's crisis it had brought in new measures, including a move that areas of high, medium and low density ash will be identified using data from the Met Office.

Instead of a blanket ban on flights, British airlines wishing to operate in high or medium density ash will now have to have a safety request approved by the CAA.

The request sets out measures airlines will take to reduce the risk of flying through ash.

"None has so far submitted a safety case to operate in high density ash," it said.

Date created : 2011-05-23

  • DIPLOMACY

    Obama sparks joy as he returns to Irish roots

    Read more

  • DIPLOMACY

    Obama to explore Irish roots on first leg of Europe tour

    Read more

  • IRELAND

    Queen honours independence fighters on historic Irish visit

    Read more

COMMENT(S)