Volcano forces Emirates diversions, cancellations

Grimsvotn erupted on Saturday, belching smoke 20km into the sky

Grimsvotn erupted on Saturday.
Grimsvotn erupted on Saturday.

Emirates Airline said on Tuesday that its flights to Glasgow and Newcastle in the UK were impacted due to volcanic ash from the recent eruption of the Grimsvotn volcano in Iceland.

Emirates flight EK027 from Dubai to Glasgow Airport was diverted to Manchester Airport with passengers ferried to destinations by Emirates-provided ground transportation.

The return flight, EK028, was forced to operate from Manchester instead of Glasgow, Emirates added in a statement.

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Emirates’ flight EK036 from Newcastle to Dubai was unable to operate on Tuesday due to airspace restrictions immediately around Newcastle Airport which prevented the aircraft's departure, Emirates added.

"Emirates has provided ground transportation to take passengers from Newcastle Airport to Manchester Airport, to travel on alternative Emirates flights to Dubai and beyond," the airline said.

"All other flights to and from the UK and Europe continue to operate as per the schedule. Emirates continues to monitor the situation closely, in addition to liaising with the relevant authorities regarding the movement of the volcanic ash cloud," it added.

Grimsvotn erupted on Saturday, belching smoke 20km into the sky in its biggest eruption since 1873. By midday Tuesday, more than 250 flights across Europe had been cancelled over fears of drifting ash causing damage to aircraft engines.

Emirates, the Arab world’s largest airline, lost an estimated $66m in lost revenue and additional costs from the ash cloud that caused chaos last year.

Worries about the effect of the ash cloud pushed forward US president Barack Obama's planned departure from Ireland after he arrived on Monday night in Britain to begin a state visit.

Airlines, already struggling under the weight of sky-high fuel costs, now face the spectre of significant losses should the ash cloud continue to spread.

British Airways, which saw a 13.5 percent drop in its MENA traffic in the second quarter of 2010 as a result of last year’s ash cloud, grounded all flights from London to Scotland until 2pm on Tuesday as a precautionary measure, a spokeswoman said.

Dutch airline operator KLM, part of Air France-KLM, said Monday it had cancelled 16 flights flying to and departing from four British cities and scheduled for Tuesday.
Spokesmen from Amman-based Royal Jordanian, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Doha-based Qatar Airways said they were monitoring the situation in northern Europe, but said no flights had been affected.

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