Volcanic Ash Cloud Causes Cancellations at Southampton Airport

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The National Air Traffic Service (Nats) has imposed restrictions to UK airspace today and Flybe have  cancelled all operations at Southampton Airport for the remainder of the day. This is due to volcanic ash drifting across the United Kingdom from Iceland after further eruption under a glacier south of the country.

Inbound flights to Southampton from Edinburgh and Glasgow airports were cancelled early this morning as the airports remained closed. Flights from Manchester and Leeds Bradford were also cancelled. Nats have recently made the decision to cancel all non-emergency flights from airports across the country and flights will now be grounded from 1200 BST.

A Nats spokesman said: “From midday today until at least 6pm, there will be no flights permitted in UK controlled airspace other than emergency situations. This has been applied in accordance with international civil aviation policy.”

“We continue to monitor the situation with the Met Office and work closely with airline customers and adjoining countries.”

Nats enforced these restrictions after the Met office issued warnings that the ash could damage the planes engines. Volcanic ash contains small particles of rock and can contain glass which can cause serious problems with the aircrafts machinery. This was shown by a 1982 BA flight which had all four engines shut down after it flew into an ash cloud.

The eruption in the Eyjafjallajoekull area of Iceland is the second eruption in a month and this time released ash to a much greater height.

The European air safety body, Eurocontrol, said the cloud of ash had reached 55,000ft and was expected to move through northern UK and Scotland by 1300BST.

Met Office forecaster Philip Avery said the ash could take several days to clear.

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