News / Europe

Disrupted Air Travel in Northern Europe for Third Full Day

Iceland's volcano erupted Wednesday and has since been spewing ash several miles into the air. The ash clouds include particles of rock, glass and sand that can get into an aircraft's engine and cause it to stall.

Multimedia

Audio

Northern European skies were clear of most commercial planes Saturday. The European air traffic agency said Iceland's volcanic eruption, which began on Wednesday, will continue to impact European aviation until at least Sunday morning.  Thick clouds of ash continue to blow across the continent.



Hundreds of thousands of passengers around the world remain stranded for a third day as European flights were slashed Saturday down to one-quarter of their normal number.  The shutdowns are expected to continue for at least another several days.   

People have crowded onto trains, buses and ferries in a bid to carry out their travel plans - and cab companies say they are being paid thousands of dollars to ferry people across Europe by car.



The European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol said only 6,000 flights would take place in European airspace Saturday - down from the 22,000 normally expected.   On Friday, Eurocontrol said about 16,000 or Europe's usual 28,000 daily flights were canceled.  Airspace in northern France was closed until Monday morning.

Southern Europe, including Spain, southern Italy, Greece, and Turkey remains open for flights.

Martin Crozier, senior meteorological officer at the Guernsey Met Office in England, says the volcanic eruption in southeast Iceland that has sent European aviation into meltdown is showing no sign of easing up.

"The situation hasn't improved at all I'm afraid," he said. "The volcano over Iceland is still producing quite a lot of ash. The upper level winds are still transporting that down towards the U.K. and northwest Europe. So if anything we have a reinforcement of the ash that's already up there - so things aren't looking too good today I'm afraid."

Crozier says the wind patterns that are pushing the volcanic dust towards Europe are expected to persist for days to come. "I think we're going to get the upper level winds carrying that ash down for a few more days yet until the upper wind patterns change which will probably not happen until the time frame Thursday-Saturday. So really at a worst-case scenario, with the volcano still going strongly, we could get airspace affected for the next few days," he said.

Iceland's volcano erupted Wednesday and has since been spewing ash several miles into the air. The ash clouds include particles of rock, glass and sand that can get into an aircraft's engine and cause it to stall.

The International Air Transport Association said Friday that the airline industry is losing more than $200 million in revenue a day - and they called this a conservative estimate.

Crozier says European aviation has never seen anything like it.  "In terms of disruption to aviation I think this is probably the worst it's been in northwest Europe," he said.

The last major disruption to European aviation followed the September 11 attacks in the United States almost a decade ago. U.S. airspace was closed for three days and European airlines cancelled all transatlantic flights.

The World Health Organization has warned people with breathing problems to remain indoors as much as possible when the ash is falling.

Airspace was closed Saturday in at least parts of more than a dozen countries - in some countries, the skies were emptied of commercial flights.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid