Flights grounded across Europe

SKIES across north west Europe fell silent today as the cloud of volcanic ash from an eruption in Iceland spreads across the continent – and will remain closed until tomorrow at the earliest.

EUROPE’S airspace closed down from lunchtime today as a huge cloud of volcanic dust blows over the country from Iceland.

All flights in Britain were suspended from noon today – and will not resume until 7am tomorrow at the earliest.

The skies above Holland, Belgium, and much of Scandinavia were also closed because of the danger of high-level ash clogging the jets of airliners.

And flights above France, Germany, and part of Russia were also expected to be banned later today.

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BAA’s Stansted and Heathrow airports will remain closed for the foreseeable future and officials are asking passengers to stay away and contact their airlines from home.

Experts fear that a combination of continuing eruptions in Iceland and high-level winds blowing towards Britain could leave this country’s airspace closed for several more days.

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Passengers intending to fly have been advised not to make the journey to the airport and wait for further updates from their airlines and airports.

Three Scottish airports were shut and several easyJet flights, due to depart from Stansted Airport this morning, were cancelled as a result of the huge plume of ash.

Airports have urged travellers to contact their airlines and check whether flights were affected.

Following advice from the Met Office, the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) has introduced restrictions to UK airspace and forecasters believe the ash could take a number of days to disperse.

In a statement, Stansted Airport said: “Due to airspace restrictions, in accordance with international regulations as a result of the on-going volcanic activity in Iceland, we anticipate that all flights in and out of Heathrow and Stansted airports will be suspended from 1200 today. “Therefore, we strongly advise passengers intending to fly from this time not to travel to the airport today. We will provide further updates as we get more information from air traffic provider NATS.”

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