Western flights are cancelled

FLIGHTS TO and from airports in the west of Ireland are to be cancelled today after Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano created a massive ash cloud 1,000 miles long and 700 miles wide.The Irish Aviation Authority IAA last night announced that Shannon, Sligo, Ireland West (Knock), Galway and Kerry airports are to close until 1pm. Donegal is to close until noon, while Dublin, Cork and Waterford airports are to remain open.

Ryanair cancelled all flights to and from Kerry, Knock and Shannon until 2pm after which point it said normal schedules are expected to resume.Aer Lingus passengers travelling from Shannon to New York and Boston today are asked to check in as normal after which point they will be transported by coach to Dublin and flown from there to the US.Passengers flying from London Heathrow to Shannon will be accommodated on flights to Cork or Dublin. Passengers travelling from Shannon to Heathrow will be accommodated on later flights.

Meanwhile,flight between London Gatwick and Knock will be in operation but passengers are told to expect delays.Aer Arann listed all flights which have been cancelled on their website and advised passengers to check the site for up-to-date flight information.The IAA said that, while northerly winds were keeping the bulk of the cloud out in the Atlantic, the increased size of the cloud was encroaching on Irish airspace along the west coast.

Due to the expected position of the ash cloud . it is essential that the airports along the west coast will have restrictions imposed in the interest of safety of passengers and crews, the IAA said.The IAA has advised passengers planning to travel by air over the coming days to regularly check with their airlines and its website, iaa.ie.A further statement from the authority is due to be issued today.Earlier yesterday, the Government Taskforce on Emergency Planning said Irish airspace might be impacted by the volcanic ash again  next week with winds predicted to be from a north/northwesterly direction.There is no indication so far that the current eruption is about to cease, the taskforce said in a statement.

Ongoing volcanic activity in Iceland earlier this week caused an increased output of volcanic ash, leading to fresh flight disruptions.There was more explosive activity and ash production, according to Sigthrudur Ármannsdóttir of the Icelandic Meteorological Office.Yann Kristofic, whose flight to Zurich was cancelled on Tuesday, was among the passengers queuing to rebook flights at Dublin Airport yesterday.Aer Lingus can only send me to Paris with no further arrangements, as they’ve no available seats for Zurich, he said. I’m lucky because as long as I have the internet I can work.Jocelyn Barber, a medical student at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, was also at the Aer Lingus desk attempting to get tickets for a lunchtime flight to Canada. One of my family members is sick in Canada so I’m trying to go visit them. I’ve already had to change my flight twice because of the volcanic ash, she said.

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