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May 03, 2010

Airspace Over Scotland, Northern Ireland to Close Wednesday

British officials say airspace over Scotland and Northern Ireland will be closed Wednesday due to a new wave of ash spewing from a volcano in Iceland.

Britain's Civil Aviation Authority ordered airports in Scotland and Northern Ireland to close starting 7 a.m. local time. Wednesday.

The agency said ash in United Kingdom airspace has increased in density and could be dangerous for jet engines.

The announcement came after airspace over Ireland and parts of Scotland was reopened Tuesday to commercial travel.  European authorities said the ash cloud had shrunk so much that it no longer posed a threat to aircraft.

A volcanic ash cloud drifting southward from Iceland had forced Tuesday's airport closures.

Last week, the European Union said airlines lost more than $3 billion when ash from the same volcano crippled air travel across Europe for nearly a week in April.

The huge plume forced cancellation of more than 100,000 flights and stranded some 10 million passengers for days.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.