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Volcanic Ash Cloud Closed Greenland’s Air Space

Volcanic Ash Cloud Closed Greenland’s Air Space

A single flight was forced to be cancelled when the ash from an Icelandic volcano moved over Greenland.

It was announced by the Danish air traffic officials that the ash from the Grimsvotn volcano reached eastern Greenland, a semiautonomous Danish territory. Air Greenland said that as a result, flight between the island’s main airport and Copenhagen was canceled.

It was also said by the Aviation officials in Norway that the cloud might also affect flights to and from the Arctic islands of Svalbard on Monday.

Britain’s Met Office said that the ash may reach British airspace later this week but the European air traffic control agency tried to satisfy by saying that the ash was not expected to move further than the western coast of Scotland.

In April 2010, Europe’s air space was closed for five days out of fear that the ash from the Eyjafjallajokull eruption could harm jet engines. Thousands of flights were grounded, airlines lost millions of dollars and millions of travelers were stranded, many sleeping on airport floors across northern Europe.

Iceland shut its main airport after Grimsvotn erupted Saturday. The airport remained closed Monday morning, but officials hoped to reopen it later in the day.

The ash is not expected to reach the European mainland or to affect trans-Atlantic flights, whose eastbound and westbound tracks were located further much south of the projected ash dispersal.

On the other hand, some airline chiefs complained that regulators had overreacted last year. But the shutdown had been justified by the study last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study reported that the hard, sharp particles of volcanic ash blasted high into the air could have caused jet engines to fail and sandblasted airplane windows.

But this time, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that they were better prepared and had far better information and intelligence which allowed them to adjust things without necessarily the blanket bans on flights that they saw last year.

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video.

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