Ash cloud poses new threat to Stansted flights

MORE disruption to flights is expected from tomorrow as the volcanic ash cloud threatens to close British air space, it has been announced.

Flights in and out of Stansted Airport in Essex could be affected as the Department of Transport predicts the chaos could last until Tuesday.

Transport secretary Philip Hammond said passenger safety is the Government’s top priority.

The prediction of further airport closures is based on the continuing volcanic activity in Iceland and the prevailing weather conditions.

The Department of Transport said: ``Within this time frame, different parts of UK airspace - including airspace in the South East - are likely to be closed at different times.’’

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Nats, the UK’s air traffic services provider, will announce any airspace restrictions if they become necessary and passengers are advised to check with their airlines before travelling to the airport.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said: “The Government is carefully monitoring this situation and the safety of passengers will remain our paramount concern.

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“We have taken the decision to publish five-day forecasts as we want airlines, other transport providers and the public to have the best possible information.

However, the situation remains fluid and these forecasts are always liable to change.”

Ministers have agreed that, from today, five-day ash prediction charts should be made available on the Met Office website.

Previous forecasts were only given for the following 18 hours but the Government statement stressed that the new five-day charts will be based on assumptions about future volcanic activity and will remain tentative.

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