Icelandic Volcano Eruption

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Icelandic volcano eruption Last updated: 1300 on Saturday, 17 April 2010 http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2010/ volcano.html The Eyjafjallajökull volcano is still erupting, and possibly intensifying, with the ash plume rising to 30,000 feet. Evidence of ash dust over the UK is being detected by Met Office observations and there are reports of dust reaching the ground. The Met Office commissioned NERC research flight flew over the North Sea on Friday afternoon and detected 3 distinct layers of ash, from fine particles at low levels to large particles around 8,000 feet. All these observations are consistent with our forecast plumes for where the ash cloud would spread and how it would mix through the atmosphere. The Met Office is working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and National Air Traffic Services (NATS), and because of the worsening volcanic activity UK airspace has now been closed until 1am Sunday. We continue to look for weather windows that will allow air space restrictions to be lifted. We are also liaising with Health Protection Scotland and the Health Protection Agency and dust collected at Lerwick and Aberdeen has been analysed by Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Preliminary analysis has shown that the properties of the particles appear to be consistent with the properties of volcanic ash, but further more detailed analysis is being undertaken. Decisions on flights and airline movement is controlled by NATS. The Met Office is unable to advise of any details of

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Icelandic volcano eruptionLast updated: 1300 on Saturday, 17 April 2010

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2010/volcano.html

The Eyjafjallajökull volcano is still erupting, and possibly intensifying, with the ash plume rising to 30,000 feet. Evidence of ash dust over the UK is being detected by Met Office observations and there are reports of dust reaching the ground.

The Met Office commissioned NERC research flight flew over the North Sea on Friday afternoon and detected 3 distinct layers of ash, from fine particles at low levels to large particles around 8,000 feet.

All these observations are consistent with our forecast plumes for where the ash cloud would spread and how it would mix through the atmosphere.

The Met Office is working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and National Air Traffic Services (NATS), and because of the worsening volcanic activity UK airspace has now been closed until 1am Sunday. We continue to look for weather windows that will allow air space restrictions to be lifted.

We are also liaising with Health Protection Scotland and the Health Protection Agency and dust collected at Lerwick and Aberdeen has been analysed by Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Preliminary analysis has shown that the properties of the particles appear to be consistent with the properties of volcanic ash, but further more detailed analysis is being undertaken.

Decisions on flights and airline movement is controlled by NATS. The Met Office is unable to advise of any details of any flights. However, many airlines are providing information on their websites.

We will continue to produce forecasts of the ash cloud and will assess the impact over the weekend in consultations with CAA and NATS.

As one of only two World Area Forecast Centres, we regularly advise the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and National Air Traffic Services.

Our forecasters monitor volcanic eruptions as part of the Met Office's role in the global network of nine Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres.

Volcanic ash can be dangerous for aircraft, causing damage, reducing visibility, and potentially clogging engines.

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Our Environment Monitoring and Response Centre is constantly monitoring the Iceland area. Our first advisory was issued at 1400 on 14 April and they have subsequently been updated every six hours.

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NATS: The UK's leading Air Navigation Services Provider 

http://www.nats.co.uk/updates.html

Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Saturday April 17, 1445

The volcanic ash cloud from Iceland is moving around and changing shape. Based on the latest information from the Met Office, NATS advises that the restrictions currently in place across UK controlled airspace will remain in place until at least 0700 (UK time) tomorrow, Sunday 18 April.

There may be some airspace available within Scotland, Northern Ireland and England north of Leeds up till 1900 (UK time) today, which may enable some domestic flights to operate under individual coordination with ATC. We will be coordinating this closely with airlines and airports. We would repeat, it is most unlikely that many flights will operate today and anyone hoping to travel should contact their airline before travelling to the airport. After 1900 (UK time) today, Met Office forecasts show the ash cloud progressively covering the whole of the UK.

We will continue to monitor Met Office information and review our arrangements in line with that. We will advise further arrangements at approximately 2100 (UK time), today.

Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Saturday April 17, 0830

The volcanic ash cloud from Iceland is moving around and changing shape. Based on the latest information from the Met Office, NATS advises that the restrictions currently in place across UK controlled airspace will remain in place until at least 0100 (UK time) tomorrow, Sunday 18 April.

We are looking for opportunities when the ash cloud moves sufficiently for us to make some airspace available within Scotland and Northern Ireland, which may enable some domestic flights to operate under individual coordination with ATC; we will be coordinating this closely with airlines and airports. It is most unlikely that many flights

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will operate today and anyone hoping to travel should contact their airline before travelling to the airport.

We will continue to monitor Met Office information and review our arrangements in line with that. We will advise further arrangements at approximately 1500 (UK time).

Saturday April 17: Update at 0415

Following the latest information from the MET Office, NATS advises that restrictions across UK controlled airspace have been extended until at least 1900 (UK Time) today Saturday 17 April and that restrictions to Scottish and Manchester airspace have been re-applied until the same time.

Current forecasts show that the situation is worsening throughout Saturday. We are continuing to look for windows of opportunity to handle individual flights in UK controlled airspace.

The next update will be at approximately 0900 (UK time) as planned.

Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Friday April 16, 2045

The volcanic ash cloud continues to affect UK airspace. Following the latest update from the Met Office, NATS advises that the restrictions currently in place across UK controlled airspace will remain in place until at least 1300 (UK time) on Saturday April 17.

There are currently no airspace restrictions in Scotland, Northern Ireland and in an area over the North Sea that includes the Shetlands and Orkney Isles. Manchester, Liverpool and all airports North of those may be available from 0400 (UK time) – 1000 (UK time) for departures to and arrivals from the North and West subject to individual co-ordination. However, please be advised that the situation is continuously changing. Forecasts indicate that the ash cloud is expected to return over Northern England at 1000 (UK time) and it is likely that restrictions will be reintroduced.

Please note these arrangements do not mean that all flights will operate.  Anyone hoping to travel today or tomorrow should contact their airline before going to the airport.

We are looking for opportunities when the ash cloud moves sufficiently for us to enable some flights to operate under individual coordination with ATC.  

We will review further Met Office information and at 0900 (UK time) on Saturday we will advise further arrangements.

We continue to work closely with airports, airlines, and the rest of Europe to understand and mitigate the implications of the volcanic eruption.

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Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Friday April 16, 1445

The cloud of volcanic ash continues to move south through the UK and the eruption in Iceland continues. Following a review of the latest Met Office information, NATS advises that restrictions preventing flights in controlled airspace over England and Wales will remain in place until 0700 (UK time) tomorrow, Saturday 17 April, at the earliest.

From 1900 (UK time) today ATC restrictions will be lifted in a large part of Scottish airspace including Scottish airports, Shetland, Orkneys and also Northern Ireland.

On this basis, North Atlantic traffic can also operate to/from points in this airspace. Please note these arrangements do not mean that all flights will operate. Anyone hoping to travel today or tomorrow should contact their airline before going to the airport.

We are looking for opportunities when the ash cloud moves sufficient for us to enable some flights to operate under individual coordination with ATC. Some aircraft were able to operate at Manchester this morning, although restrictions are now reapplied to Manchester.

We hope there may be some opportunity from the north into Newcastle after 0100 (UK time) tomorrow - Saturday. We will review further Met Office information and at 2030 (UK time) we will advise further arrangements. In general, the situation is dynamic and subject to change.

We continue to work closely with airports, airlines, and the rest of Europe to understand and mitigate the implications of the volcanic eruption.

Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Friday April 16, 0830

The cloud of volcanic ash continues to cover much of the UK and the eruption in Iceland continues. Following a review of the latest Met Office information, NATS advises that restrictions preventing flights in English controlled airspace will remain in place until 0100 (UK time) tomorrow, Saturday 17 April, at the earliest.

Flights in Northern Ireland and the Western Isles of Scotland to and from Glasgow and Prestwick will continue to be allowed until 1900 (UK time) subject to individual co-ordination.  North Atlantic traffic to and from Glasgow, Prestwick and Belfast may also be allowed in this period.

From 1900 (UK time), forecasts indicate that Scottish airspace may be able to accept domestic flights within Scotland and Northern/Southern Ireland, and North Atlantic flights to/from airports in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

We will review further Met Office information and at 1430 (UK time) we will advise further arrangements.  In general, the situation is dynamic and subject to change.

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We continue to work closely with airports, airlines, and the rest of Europe to understand and mitigate the implications of the volcanic eruption.

Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Friday April 16, 0230

The cloud of volcanic ash continues to cover much of the UK and the eruption in Iceland continues. Following a review of the latest Met Office information, NATS advises that restrictions will remain in place in UK controlled airspace until 1900 (UK time) today, Friday 16 April, at the earliest.

However, flights in Northern Ireland and the Western Isles of Scotland to and from Glasgow and Prestwick may be allowed up to 1300 (UK time) today, subject to individual co-ordination. North Atlantic traffic to and from Glasgow, Prestwick and Belfast may also be allowed over the same period. We will review further Met Office information and at 0830 (UK time) we will advise the arrangements that will be in place until 0100 (UK time) on Saturday, 17 April.

In general, the situation cannot be said to be improving with any certainty as the forecast affected area appears to be closing in from east to west. We continue to work closely with airports, airlines, and the rest of Europe to understand and mitigate the implications of the volcanic eruption.

Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Thursday April 15, 2020

The cloud of volcanic ash continues to cover much of the UK. Following a review of the latest Met Office information, NATS advises that restrictions will remain in place in UK controlled airspace until 1300 (UK time) tomorrow, Friday 16 April, at the earliest.

However, flights from Northern Ireland and the Western Isles of Scotland to and from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Prestwick may be allowed in the period from 0100 (UK time) to 1300 (UK time) tomorrow subject to individual co-ordination. North Atlantic traffic to and from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Prestwick and Belfast may also be allowed in the period.

We will review further Met Office information and at 0230 (UK time) tomorrow we will advise the arrangements that will be in place through to 1800 (UK time) tomorrow. However be aware that the situation cannot be said to be improving with any certainty as the forecast affected area appears to be closing in from east to west. We continue to work closely with airports, airlines, and the rest of Europe to understand and mitigate the implications of the volcanic eruption.

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Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Thursday April 15, 1400

The cloud of volcanic ash is now spread across the UK and continuing to travel south. In line with international civil aviation policy, no flights other than agreed emergencies are currently permitted in UK controlled airspace.

Following a review of the latest Met Office information, NATS advises that these restrictions will remain in place in UK controlled airspace until 0700 (UK time) tomorrow, Friday 16 April, at the earliest. We will review further Met Office information and at 2000 today (UK time) we will advise the arrangements that will be in place through to 1300 (UK time) tomorrow.

We continue to work closely with airports, airlines, and the rest of Europe to understand and mitigate the implications of the volcanic eruption.

* Times adjusted to show UK local rather than standard, global ATC time.

Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Thursday April 15, 0950

Following the latest update from the MET Office Statement, we have just issued a statement to alert our airline customers that 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.

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Icelandic volcanic ash alert grounds UK flights http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8621407.stm

All flights in and out of the UK and several other European countries have been suspended as ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland moves south.

Up to 4,000 flights are being cancelled with airspace closed in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark among others.

The UK's air traffic control service (Nats) said no flights would be allowed in UK airspace until at least 0700 BST on Friday amid fears of engine damage.

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Safety group Eurocontrol said the problem could persist for 48 hours.

The volcano is still spewing ash and the wind direction is expected to continue bringing clouds into UK and European airspace for some time to come.

The UK's airspace restriction was the worst in living memory, a Nats spokesman said. Some 600,000 people are thought to have been affected.

Nats suggested that the restrictions were unlikely to be lifted after 0700, saying it was "very unlikely that the situation over England will improve in the foreseeable future".

Passengers were advised to contact their carriers prior to travel.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said he was "closely monitoring the situation" and would be meeting with key transport officials on Friday morning.

Experts have warned that the tiny particles of rock, glass and sand contained in the ash cloud from the still-erupting volcano could be sufficient to jam aircraft engines.

The Health Protection Agency said the ash from the Eyjafjallajoekull eruption did not pose a significant risk to public health because of its high altitude.

However, the British Lung Foundation has warned people with lung conditions to keep their medication with them as a precautionary measure.

These are some of the knock-on effects:

Eurocontrol says Germany is monitoring the situation and considering partial airspace closures

The two main airports in Paris and many others in the north of France are closing There is severe disruption in France and Spain, where all northbound flights are

cancelled Nats is due to make an announcement shortly as to the arrangements that will be

in place through to 1300 BST on Friday British Airways offers refunds or an option to rebook after all its domestic flights

are suspended Flybe announces it has cancelled all flights up until 1300BST on Friday and more

than 25 services due to run after that. British sports teams have been hit by travel problems after flights were grounded Dozens of Leicestershire students were evacuated from accommodation in Iceland

after the volcano eruption Singer Russell Watson calls off concert in the Irish Republic after missing the last

ferry crossing from Holyhead

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One passenger at Glasgow told the BBC: "I'm meant to be going to Lanzarote. We've travelled from Oban, leaving at 3am. Now we've decided we might as well just go home and do a bit of gardening."

Others switched from plane to train, with the East Coast line extending its 1830 BST London to Newcastle service through to Edinburgh.

A spokeswoman for Eurostar estimated an extra 10,000 seats had been booked.

She also said Friday's services were "extremely full".

Budget airline Ryanair said no flights were operating to or from the UK on Thursday and it expected cancellations and delays on Friday.

A spokesman for Nats, which was formerly known as the National Air Traffic Services, said: "The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre has issued a forecast that the ash cloud from the volcanic eruption in Iceland will track over Europe tonight.

"Nats is working with Eurocontrol and our colleagues in Europe's other air navigation service providers to take the appropriate action to ensure safety in accordance with international aviation policy."

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.

Brian Flynn, assistant head of operations of its central flow management unit, told the BBC: "As it moves toward the Netherlands and Belgium it will dissipate and lose intensity, like any weather phenomenon. But we don't know what the extent of it will be."

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has sent up a reconnaissance flight to investigate how the ash is distributed in the cloud, something that is impossible to assess from satellite imagery.

Dr Mike Branney, senior lecturer in volcanology, University of Leicester, said: "Volcanic ash is not good to plane engines.

"Firstly it is highly abrasive and can scour and damage moving parts. Secondly, if it enters a jet engine the intense heat of the engine can fuse it to the interior of the engine with a caking of hot glass, which ultimately can cause the engine to cut out completely.

"This is a sensible precaution."

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In 1982 a British Airways jumbo had all four of its engines shut down as it flew through a plume of volcanic ash.

There was also an incident on 15 December 1989 when KLM Flight 867, a B747-400 from Amsterdam to Anchorage, Alaska, flew into the plume of the erupting Mount Redoubt, causing all four engines to fail.

Once the flight cleared the ash cloud, the crew was able to restart each engine and then make a safe landing at Anchorage, but the aircraft was substantially damaged.

A BAA spokesman said: "Passengers intending to fly today are asked to contact their airline for further information."

The eruption under a glacier in the Eyjafjallajoekull area of Iceland is the second in the country in less than a month.

Prof Bill McGuire, professor at the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre, said it was not "particularly unusual" for ash from Icelandic eruptions to reach the UK.

"Such a large eruption... would have the potential to severely affect air travel at high northern latitudes for six months or more.

"In relation to the current eruption, it is worth noting that the last eruption of Eyjafjallajoekull lasted more than 12 months."

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Iceland volcano: Airlines 'to lose $200m a day' http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8624663.stm

Page last updated at 20:59 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 21:59 UK

Airlines will lose at least $200m (£130m) per day in revenues as a result of the volcanic ash-linked disruption, the industry's governing body has said.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said its members would also lose further money as a result of expensive contingency plans.

Meanwhile accountants KPMG said it expected UK flights alone to cost airlines in excess of £200m per day.

All UK flights in England and Wales were grounded on Friday.

Those airspace restrictions will remain in place until at least 0700 BST on Saturday, and widespread restrictions are now in place across Europe.

Conservative estimate

British Airways' website said it is cancelling all its flights to and from London airports on Saturday.

The carrier said that following the lifting of flying restrictions to Scottish air space, a small number of flights from the US originally scheduled for other UK destinations will fly into Scotland overnight.

German flag carrier Lufthansa announced that all its European flights would be cancelled until at least 1100 BST on Saturday.

And Ryanair has said none of its flights in northern Europe would operate until at least Monday afternoon.

Some restrictions in Scotland are being lifted from 1900 BST on Friday, however.

The IATA said its estimate of a $200m daily loss of revenues was "initial and conservative".

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"In addition to lost revenues, airlines will incur added costs for re-routing of aircraft, care for stranded passengers and stranded aircraft at various ports," its director of corporate communications, Anthony Concil, said.

KPMG was less conservative in its estimates, predicting a £200m loss in traffic revenues as a result of the UK shutdown, assuming that all ticket sales would have to be refunded to passengers.

Shares in major European airlines fell on Friday as the volcanic ash cloud spread across Europe.

British Airways saw its share price fall by 3.3%, while Air France-KLM lost 3.4%, and Lufthansa was down 4.1%.

The falls appeared to reflect concerns among investors over the impact the stoppages could have on the airline industry.

But Douglas McNeill, a transport analyst at Charles Stanley Securities, said the financial impact would be small providing the stoppages were short-lived.

"Clearly if you aren't flying, you're not generating revenue from passengers," he told the BBC.

"For a large network carrier like BA or Lufthansa you're talking about £10m a day - but that's of limited commercial significance.

"A couple of days like this won't matter too much. If it goes on for weeks, that's a different story."

Few businesses hit

Dr Ashley Steel, Global Chair for Transport and Infrastructure at KPMG, agreed that grounding the fleet would cost an airline like BA "tens of millions of pounds", but said that the companies needed to look at how they could better cope with such events in the future.

"These unprecedented events underline again the need for mergers and global alliances in the airline industry because truly global airlines will be much better placed to deal with the financial fallout from these types of events," he said.

The effect on the wider economy, however, is not expected to be as great.

Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight, said the impact on trade would be minimal assuming the stoppages were not prolonged.

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"Some businesses will be affected by the inability for freight to get in and out of the country. But as long as the disruption is not too long, this should not be a major problem," he said.

Imports and exports by air freight represent just 1% of UK trade by weight, according to the think tank Oxford Economic Forecasting.

However, in value terms, around 30% of exports are transported by air - with the pharmaceutical industry particularly reliant on air freight, due to the high value and low weight of their products.

'Potential disruption'

No problems have been announced yet but Chris Snelling of the Freight Transport Association said problems could emerge.

"Stuff that's being air freighted is almost always needed at short notice," he said.

"The pharmaceutical industry produces goods with short shelf lives sometimes and they need to get to the doctors and hospitals very quickly. Exporting beyond Europe has become impossible."

Mr Snelling added that manufacturing industries also relied on getting spare parts to keep factories going.

"If firms suffer problems with equipment, they may find it hard to get replacement equipment at short notice. You might see factories being restricted in what they do or potentially shutting down. You could start to see a lot of disruption."

Volcanic ash cloud forces more UK flight restrictions Restrictions on flights to and from the UK have been extended until 0700 BST on Sunday, as the danger to planes from volcanic ash from Iceland continues.

A few domestic flights may be able to take off from Scotland and Northern Ireland before 1900 BST on Saturday, but most planes will remain grounded.

British Airways has cancelled all short haul flights on Sunday but is still reviewing long haul services.

Officials warn that European airspace could be disrupted for several days.

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The National Air Traffic Control Service (Nats) said Met Office forecasts showed the ash cloud progressively covering the whole of the UK after 1900 BST. A further update is expected at about 2100 BST.

Nats head of safety Paul Haskins said: "It's a very dynamic situation at the moment.

"Looking at the Met Office forecast we know from about seven o'clock onwards this evening that the ash cloud will again envelop UK air space and the restrictions will take effect."

Prof Brian Golding, head of forecasting research at the Met Office, said it was likely the volcanic cloud would remain over the UK for several days.

"We need a change of wind direction that stays changed for several days and there is no sign of that in the immediate future," he added.

Eurocontrol the agency which co-ordinates air traffic control in 38 nations, said it expected only 6,000 flights in European airspace on Saturday, compared to 22,000 flights usually.

"Forecasts suggest that the cloud of volcanic ash will persist and that the impact will continue for at least the next 24 hours," it said in a statement.

A plume of ash 8.5km (5.3 miles) high was visible in Iceland on Saturday.

The disruption has affected hundreds of thousands of travellers since Wednesday when the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano began erupting for the second time in a month.

UK-based Aaron Soni is one of many thousands of Britons stranded by the ash cloud.

He had been visiting his parents in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife and son.

Mr Soni was due to return to the UK on Saturday, but was told not to bother checking with his airline until Thursday.

He said his and his wife's work commitments were "in chaos" and their son was due to return to school on Monday.

"It's getting expensive to pay all the bills," he said.

One of the UK's biggest fresh fruit importers said business had ground to a halt because of the disruption.

Anthony Pile, chairman of Blue Skies, said the company was losing £100,00 a day as produce was rotting in Brazil and Africa.

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"Losing a day is a disaster, losing three days is unbelievable and I don't know what we're going to do if we go into the middle of next week," he said.

British Airways said it had no insurance against suspending flights and refunding customers as a result of the ash cloud, and would have to absorb the costs itself.

A spokeswoman told the BBC it was because it had "no insurance against natural disasters".

The company said it would put a figure on the costs next week.

In other developments:

• Eurostar added eight extra services on Saturday, but passengers are advised not to turn up without a booking

• P&O ferry crossings between Portsmouth and Bilbao are fully booked until Wednesday, as are those from Hull to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam over the weekend

• Thomson Airways, the airline for Thomson and First Choice holidays, said all outbound flights over the weekend had been cancelled

• Flights between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been able to continue on Saturday, flying 1,500ft below the dust cloud

• Ryanair cancelled all flights to and from northern Europe until 1300 BST on Monday. It will keep running in southern and central Europe, although flight restrictions are being imposed in Hungary and Romania

Unable to catch flights, many travellers across northern Europe have sought other means of transport, which has seen people filling trains, buses and ferries.

Flight restrictions mean some world leaders might have difficulty attending the funeral of Polish president Lech Kaczynski on Sunday.

The Prince of Wales is waiting to see if airspace is open before making a final decision on whether he will travel to the funeral.

And celebrities have not been immune to the travel disruption.

US singer Whitney Houston had to take a car ferry from Britain to Ireland for a concert in Dublin and comedian John Cleese reportedly paid $5,100 (£3,319) for a taxi ride from Oslo to Brussels.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was also affected by the restrictions.

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An MoD spokeswoman said: "We are under the same restrictions as everybody else, above 3,000 ft. Below 3,000 ft essential helicopter operations, such as search and rescue operations, have resumed."

British glaciologist Dr Matthew Roberts, working at Iceland's Met Office, said the volcano was now producing less ash.

"There haven't been any further significant outbursts of volcanic ash from the eruption site," he said.

"However, there is still volcanic ash in the atmosphere and there's a lag effect between material being emitted from the volcano and the ash plume drifting into European airspace."

Volcanic ash: Europe flights grounded for third day Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Saturday, 17 April 2010 17:06 UKhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8626505.stm

Virtually all of Europe's major airports remain closed as a huge plume of volcanic ash drifts south and east across the continent from Iceland.

Millions of air travellers are stranded as thousands of flights are being cancelled for a third day.

The disruption from the spread of ash would continue into Sunday, European aviation agency Eurocontrol said.

Airlines are losing some £130m ($200m) a day in an unprecedented shutdown of commercial air travel.

"Forecasts suggest that the cloud of volcanic ash will persist and that the impact will continue for at least the next 24 hours," a statement from Eurocontrol said at around 0830 GMT.

The agency, which co-ordinates air traffic control in 38 nations, said it expected 16,000 flights to be cancelled across Europe on Saturday, from a total of 22,000 on a normal Saturday.

Many countries and airlines have grounded fleets as the ash - a mixture of glass, sand and rock particles, drifting from 5,000ft (1,500m) - can seriously damage aircraft engines.

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Some 18,000 of the 28,000 daily flights in the affected zone were cancelled on Friday, twice as many as the day before.

The UK extended its ban on commercial flights until at least 0700 local time (0600 GMT) on Sunday.

Many other countries, from Ireland to Russia, have also closed their airspace. In northern France and northern Italy, airports are shut until Monday.

The disruption has now affected millions of travellers since Wednesday when the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano began erupting for the second time in a month.

Scientists in Iceland said they hoped to fly above the volcano to assess how much ice has melted, now that winds have cleared visibility.

A plume of ash 8.5km (5.3 miles) high was visible on Saturday.

A "significant quantity" of ash was contained in the column, said Dr David Rothery, of the UK Open University's earth sciences department, based on live images from webcams in Iceland.

"The column is pulsing in height, as fresh explosions occur in the active crater. One can see curtains of ash fallout below the plume from time to time," he said.

According to Mr Rothery, the fine ash at the top of the column is likely to be drawn into the high altitude winds, adding to the ash cloud heading southwards across the continent.

Long way home

Europe's busiest airports, including Heathrow in London, Frankfurt and Charles de Gaulle in Paris, have been affected by the closures.

"There has never been anything like this," he said, adding that there were no Lufthansa planes in the air anywhere in the world.

Unable to catch flights, commuters across northern Europe have sought other means of transport, packing out trains, buses and ferries.

The Eurostar cross-channel rail service said it had never seen so many passengers on one day and the trains were fully booked until Monday.

The large no-fly zone also means that some world leaders might have difficulty attending the funeral of the Polish president on Sunday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was due to return from a visit to the US on Friday, had to fly to Lisbon where she spent the night.

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With all German airports still closed, she flew on to Italy on Saturday and is set to continue her journey home by bus.

The disruption also forced the cancellation of the inaugural Iraqi Airways flight from Baghdad to London.

US pop star Whitney Houston was forced to take a car ferry from Britain to Ireland for a concert after her flight was cancelled.

The travel chaos has been felt as far away as North America and Asia, with dozens of Europe-bound flights being cancelled.

British health officials said any effects of the ash on people with existing respiratory conditions were "likely to be short term".

The last eruption of the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano was on 20 March, when a 0.5km-long fissure opened up on the eastern side of the glacier at the Fimmvoerduhals Pass. The eruption prior to that started in 1821 - and continued intermittently for more than a year.

Iceland lies on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the highly volatile boundary between the Eurasian and North American continental plates.

Airspace closed:Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, UKPartial closures:Belarus: No flights between 7,000-11,000m (23,000-36,000 ft)Croatia: (North-western airspace closed)France (northern airspace, including Paris, closed until Monday)Italy (northern airspace closed until Monday)Lithuania (air traffic control leaving decision to fly to individual companies)Norway (limited flights in north)SerbiaFlights operating:Spain, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey

Iceland volcano: Airlines face 'logistical nightmare' By Richard AndersonPage last updated at 15:20 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 16:20 UK

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The fallout from the Icelandic volcano will be felt a long time after the ash has settled.

For while the majority of flights may be back in the air by the beginning of next week, it will be many more days before the airlines have got their schedules back on track.

And that means more delayed flights for thousands of passengers, many of whom may be under the false impression that, once the ash clears, planes will be free to fly as normal.

"Airlines face a logistical nightmare," explains Barry Turner-Woods, contributing editor of Airlines World.

Not only will there be a backlog of flights to clear, but planes are stranded across the world in destinations thousands of miles from where they need to be.

Domino effect

Flight schedules are intricate and complex, and the consequences of missing just one flight, let alone hundreds, can be far reaching.

For example, as John Strickland, director of the aviation consultancy JLS Consulting, explains, an Air New Zealand flight from Hong Kong to London was forced to land in Frankfurt.

As a result, it had to cancel the flight back to Hong Kong. Another of the carrier's aircraft got into London from Los Angeles before the airspace closure -but meaning it had to cancel a London to LA flight because that plane is stuck at Heathrow Airport.

The domino effect only loses momentum once the airlines can start flying again.

"This is a really big headache, especially for long-haul operators," says Mr Strickland.

"Airlines rely on a carefully-planned sequence of flights. Once the sequence is broken, it is very hard to catch up, particularly on complex routes such as the UK to Asia or Australia."

And as more airports fall under the volcanic cloud, the problem will only get worse, particularly when those airports are international hubs such as Paris and Frankfurt, both of which were closed on Friday.

Jet lag

The logistics involved in getting back on track are hard to grasp - it's not simply a question of waiting for the ash to clear and sending the planes on their way.

Page 19: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

"In some cases, airlines won't be able to stick with the same crew," explains Mr Strickland.

"Crew are entitled to rest periods and they may not be available for the next flight. It may actually be quicker to recover the plane with a different crew."

Airlines also have to bear in mind the time zones in which the crew are operating. Even if they are free, there are strict safety regulations to guard against jet lag. Crew's body clocks are intricately connected to flight schedules.

Not only, then, does the airline have to foot the bill for putting up crew in hotels while they wait, but they may have to pay for a whole new crew to fly out to pick up a stranded plane.

Mr Strickland estimates that it could take some airlines a full week after the ash clears before they can resume a normal service on complex long-haul flights.

Mr Turner-Woods believes it will take them four to five days.

"It really depends on capacity - if the flights are full or not," he says. An airline with plenty of free seats will be able to clear the backlog quicker.

Tight budgets

One thing is for sure, he argues: "You won't find any airlines hiring extra aircraft to cover the shortfall."

This is for the very simple reason that they cannot afford to.

"The fixed costs in the airline business are enormous, and they still need to be met," says Tim Coombs, managing director of Aviation Economics.

Large airlines such as British Airways or Lufthansa are losing about £10m a day while their planes are grounded, according to Douglas McNeill, a transport analyst at Charles Stanley Securities.

And most major airlines can ill-afford to charter additional planes at a time when they are struggling to make money.

Short-haul operators, however, should be less badly affected.

"It will be relatively easy for short-haul, low-cost operators to get their schedules back on track," says Mr Coombs.

And there is no way of knowing which passengers will be hit as airlines struggle with the logistics of returning to business as normal.

Page 20: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

"Some people will be lucky, others will not," says Mr Turner-Woods.

Grounded flights

Then there is the problem of actually getting the planes off the ground once the ash clears.

Any airline will usually have the majority of its planes in the air, not all of them sitting on the ground. At airports that have been closed completely, this means there are huge numbers of planes that are parked up.

"Airlines don't usually have this much capacity on the ground," explains Mr Strickland.

"The choreography involved [in getting them all up in the air] is a real problem."

This will be a minor issue compared with re-scheduling entire flight programmes, but is just one of many logistical conundrums facing global airlines.

Unfortunately for airlines and passengers alike, the knock-on effects of the Icelandic volcanic eruption will be felt long after planes take to the skies once more.

Volcanic ash cloud - the travel alternatives Page last updated at 11:41 GMT, Saturday, 17 April 2010 12:41 UK

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/8624764.stm

As the Icelandic ash cloud continues to hang over the UK, suspending most flights until Sunday at 0100 BST, here are the alternatives to getting away.

In summary, Eurostar are running with full capacity but Eurotunnel have space. Ferries might be a better bet, with most operators reporting space on their services.

Eurotunnel

No disruption; however, availability is limited. Check website or call 08443 35 35 35

Eurotunnel Eurostar

Extra trains running today but check with their website for availability.

Eurostar

Page 21: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

Transmanche

Ferries sailing out of Portsmouth and Newhaven to Le Havre and Dieppe. Running to time with space reported.

Transmanche LD Lines

Running to time with space reported. LD Lines run ferries from Dover, Ramsgate, Newhaven and Portsmouth.

LD Lines TransEuropa

Transeuropa run a service from Ramsgate to Ostend. Running to time with space reported.

Transeuropa Ferries from Dover

Running on time with space reported. P&O Ferries are unable to accept any more foot passenger bookings until Monday.

P&O Ferries SeaFrance Dover Harbour Board P&O Ferries from Hull

Running to time, with some space reported, but P&O advise you not to travel to the port without a reservation.

P&O Ferries P&O Irish Ferries

Running to time with space reported.

P&O Ferries Stena Line to Ireland

No reported problems.

Stena Line Virgin Trains

Virgin are running some extra trains. Other trains will run with extra carriages, including the Holyhead services.

Page 22: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

Virgin Trains East Coast

No extra trains, but East Coast report no problems.

East Coast National Express coaches

National Express are running additional services.

National Express coaches Eurolines coaches

Running additional services to mainland Europe and Ireland. Check website for availability.

Eurolines coaches

Iceland volcano: Air passenger rights http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8621779.stmPage last updated at 09:49 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 10:49 UKBy Kevin Peachey

An ash cloud from a volcanic eruption in Iceland has grounded planes across the UK - and the disruption is likely to continue.

Airports have closed and a number of passengers are stranded in the UK and overseas.

Experts say the ash affects visibility and debris can get sucked into airplane engines, which could affect the safety of air travel.

At 1200BST on Thursday, it was announced that flights were not allowed into UK airspace and flights are continuing to be restricted.

So if passengers are affected, what are their rights?

What are my basic rights?

You have a contract with the airline to get you from A to B. So that means the airline should try to re-route your journey - even if that means a bus or taxi transfer to another airport for a flight with a different operator.

Page 23: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

This is unlikely given the situation, so many people will be told to stay at home and contact their airline before they travel.

As a result, passengers can generally choose to have a refund or to change to another flight, according to the Trading Standards Institute. Airlines are usually quite swift to give refunds and should not charge an administration fee.

Airlines have a strategy in place for bad weather and a similar strategy will be in place for this ash cloud disruption.

What happens if I am stranded and trying to get home?

If a flight is delayed, there are strict European rules in place, which mean that the airline is obliged to provide assistance at the airport. This includes supplying meals and refreshments, along with accommodation if an overnight stay is required.

However, in the current situation it is not clear when flights will be able to take off and passengers are therefore being advised not to travel to the airport.

Rochelle Turner, head of research at Which?, said that this meant many people arriving at the airport would have to turn around and go home - even if they had long journeys to the airport. Some insurance policies may have an allowance for costs caused by delays.

For those stranded overseas, it is worth keeping expenditure on continuing stays to a minimum and then making a claim to the airline. This might be an issue because there might be a shortage of hotel space.

Your specific rights will depend on the length of the flight and the delay.

For example, for flights of 1,500km or less where there is a delay of more than two hours, a passenger should be given meals and refreshments, along with two free telephone calls, e-mails, telexes or faxes.

If the delay is for five hours or more, passengers are also entitled to a refund of their ticket with a free flight back to their initial point of departure if this is relevant.

People flying into the European Union from overseas are also covered by the rules, as long as they are travelling on a European airline.

However, owing to the fact that any cancellations would be beyond airlines' control, there is no automatic right to other compensation. Extra compensation is available if a flight is cancelled or delayed and it is the airline's fault.

Does the airline look after me if I have two single tickets?

This has been a source of discussion with the emergence of budget airlines.

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However, the EU rules on assistance apply equally to any journey, whether one-way or part of a return ticket, according to the Air Transport Users Council.

Technically speaking, the airlines should arrange and pay for the hotel and meal costs for passengers while they wait for the new flights.

In reality, there may simply not be enough hotel rooms available in circumstances like these. The ATUC's advice to passengers is to keep their expenditure to a minimum and to put in a claim to the airline - but always try to agree this with the airline first.

How long is this expected to last?

That depends on the ash situation and the disruption is changing minute-by-minute.

The situation is further confused as the volcano is still erupting.

Some travel insurance policies will pay out if a holiday, with its associated costs such as hotels, is cancelled owing to the flight problems. However, this depends on the small print so it is worth looking at your policy.

Ms Turner, of Which?, said that very few insurance policies have this cover and as a result many holidaymakers who booked flights and accommodation separately could lose the money spent on hotels. People who get a refund and who then book more expensive alternative transport are also likely to lose out financially.

Package holidays have their own protection. Operators must refund customers for the whole holiday if trips are cancelled, meaning they could not get to their destination.

In reality, operators tend to give three options to people on package deals. They are: deferring the leaving date of the holiday, transferring to another holiday of the same or similar value, or a refund of the amount paid for the whole holiday.

There is also a potential claim to your credit card provider if you booked using your card.

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Iceland volcano as it happened: 17 April http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8626765.stm

April 17, 2010

Welcome to our live coverage of the volcanic ash cloud over northern Europe. This live page will update through the day. Please refresh for the latest news, analysis and advice from experts and BBC correspondents. All times are in BST.

Send us your views using the form on the right.

1800 The BBC is discontinuing this live update page. For the latest developments, please go to our main news page.

1755 Mike Gore e-mails from Redditch: "We have just arrived home after a 2,000 euro ($2,700, £1,760) taxi ride from Courchevel in the French Alps. We are five adults and three young children.

"It was a tough decision to outlay the extra cash, which cannot be recovered from insurance, but with deteriorating prospects of a flight home any time soon and the cost of hotels in France, we are just relieved to be home having a nice cuppa.

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"The taxi driver, Matt, has still got to get back and explain to his wife, as the fare was originally only to Geneva Airport."

1745 The disruption means many world leaders remain unsure about whether they will be at Sunday's funeral of President Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash last week.

US President Barack Obama is among those who have said they cannot now attend, while some European leaders are making the journey overland.

A final decision on whether the Prince of Wales will be able to represent the Queen at the ceremony will be made on Sunday.

1720 A fair few volcano jokes are making the rounds on Twitter. Daveip1966 tweets one of the more repeatable ones: "Last time you Poms got the Ashes you were over the moon. There's no pleasing some people."

1715 The BBC's Malcolm Brabant at Athens Airport says: "After delighting audiences in Toyko, Seoul and Manila with their angelic voices, the 23 boys of the Libera school choir from South London have come down with a bump in the Greek capital, Athens.

"After a fourteen hour flight from Manila, the boys, aged seven to 15, and their chaperones, found that they were stranded and likely to miss important exams back in Britain on Monday.

"Robert Prizeman, the group's head, said they may travel by coach as the earliest time they had been given for flights was Friday."

1710 Bent Marinosson in Iceland e-mails:

"Today I went to the Hvolsvollur, the town nearest to the volcano. There is a roadblock and you can't go any further unless you live beyond that town.

"The authorities are expecting floods and are putting up protection. There is a lot of wind from the north which means the ash will get blown south rather than the usual south-westerly direction. I'm planning to go back later today with a friend who lives past the roadblock. By travelling with her I will get closer to the volcano."

1700 Health officials in Scotland have tested three samples of volcanic ash collected around the country and say the health risk from the dust is "minimal".

1645 Stranded passengers at Frankfurt are provided with three free meals a day and a bed, Robert Payne, the airport's spokesman told the BBC: "If passengers have medicine stored in their check-in luggage which they can't access, we have pharmacies where they can obtain prescriptions.

Page 27: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

"We have our own 24-hour medical clinic, with staff going around to see if the passengers have any special requirements or needs."

1640 As the travel chaos spreads across Europe, the BBC has a new gallery of images .

1637 Uefa will decide on Monday whether four European semi-finals can go ahead due to the ash cloud travel chaos, BBC Sport understands.

Liverpool are due to face Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital in the Europa League on Thursday 22 April. On the same day Roy Hodgson's Fulham meet Hamburg in Germany.

In the Champions League semi-finals, Inter Milan entertain Barcelona on the 20 April, while Bayern Munich play Lyon on 21 April.

1635 Kristina Halvorson tweets: "So. Yes. Having now accepted the reality of my current situation, being stranded in Paris is PRETTY AWESOME."

1631 Both its long and short haul flights in and out of the UK will be suspended on Sunday, British Airways has confirmed.

1606 The BBC's Alex Bushill at Heathrow says while the terminals are officially closed, people remain, including foreign nationals who cannot afford a hotel:

"One Brazilian man stranded here waiting to fly via Munich to Rio de Janeiro said it's not travel hell, it's more like travel purgatory. He wanders around aimlessly like a ghost, counting the minutes, the hours and increasingly the days, hoping for news about when flights will resume."

1601 Flights are disrupted in Italy, although the country's airspace has not been closed. Pope Benedict XVI was on one of the few planes that managed to leave Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport. He has now arrived in Malta for what is planned as a weekend pilgrimage.

1550 Icelandic names like Eyjafjallajoekull do not appear in the global news all that often. The New York Times has made the most of the opportunity and asked people in Times Square to have a go at saying the volcano's name. So how did they get on?

1545 Matthew Leeke has sent us this picture of the dust which appeared on his car overnight in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. You can see more of your pictures here.

1541 The Irish Aviation Authority says Ireland's airspace will now remain closed until 1200 GMT on Sunday.

1535 The BBC's Lyse Doucet, who had to travel overland from Kabul to London, tweets: "In London at last under a warm sun. Tsunami of travellers at train station all sooo happy to have found a way through volcanic ash."

Page 28: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

1526 The BBC's Dominic Laurie says: "British Airways is not insured for these circumstances. A spokeswoman told the BBC it is because it 'has no insurance against natural disasters', it will have to absorb costs itself. BA says it will put a figure on how much the ash disruption has caused next week, but not before."

1515 Several people have been using Twitter to ask for fellow tweeters' help in finding alternative transport.

SarahScuba's tweets: "Invoking the power of Twitter - I get married next week, my groom is stuck in Lisbon and needs to get to Hendaye by tomorrow morning."

Christiane tweets: "We are stuck in Stockholm, need to go to London. Is someone going to Trelleborg or Copenhagen?"

1500 Two church groups from Hampshire claim they are effectively under house arrest in an Indian hotel in Delhi. They were due to fly home from a trip to Nepal, but the authorities say the hotel stay has broken their visa terms.

1450 The ash cloud is moving and changing shape. On latest Met Office information, Nats advises UK flight restrictions will remain in place until at least 0700BST Sunday.

In Scotland, Northern Ireland and England, north of Leeds, there may be some airspace up until 1900BST, enabling some domestic flights to operate. But those hoping to travel should contact their airline.

After that time, the Met Office forecasts the cloud will progressively cover the whole of the UK.

1445 As travellers search out other forms of transport, Eurostar says there is availability on London to Paris and Brussels services on Saturday and Sunday. And P&O Ferries reports 400 calls every 15 minutes.

1426 One British bride-to-be has been crying since Thursday morning after being forced to abandon a dream wedding in Mexico because of the ban on flights. Time has run out for the Grimsby couple to make their beachfront nuptials.

1359 Kathryn McArdle e-mails from Upminster:

My husband is stuck in Kathmandu. He was due to leave today, but can't even get as far as Delhi to change planes because he doesn't have an Indian visa, as one was not originally required for a trip to Nepal. The airport at Delhi is overflowing so he is stuck in Kathmandu indefinitely.

Page 29: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

1351Volcanologist Thor Thordarson told the BBC there may be more to come from Iceland: "We are probably in for quite a long run of eruptions from Icelandic volcanoes - a number are ready to erupt and probably will within the next few years.

"The last two times this volcano erupted it was followed by a significantly larger eruption from the neighbouring Katla volcano, which typically produces much larger eruptions, plus floods. Whether they are a coincidence or whether they have some links we don't know."

1312 The BBC's Lorna Gordon in Reykjavik says: "This eruption, which has caused so much chaos in the airspace over Europe, has had remarkably little effect on Iceland. We flew in just to the south and you could see a vast cloud of steam and ash rising into the air. But when you land, day-to-day life is pretty much carrying in as normal.

"The volcano is in a very remote part of the island. About 800 people have had to evacuate their homes because of worries over flash flooding and there is also a problem with ash clogging the engines of cars. But in Reykjavik, life continues as normal, because the prevailing winds are blowing most of the ash towards Europe."

1305 The high volcanic ash content in the air has resulted in some spectacular sunsets. Michael Connor sent us his picture of a dramatic skyline over the Tyne Valley in northern England on Friday.

1252 Quintus Cary e-mails: "We have been returned to Bangkok, having been told to fly into Mumbai by our airline who, upon arrival, told us they were sending us back as we had no visa. They were even telling us that we would have to pay for our return to Mumbai once the restrictions were lifted.

"India's response to this international incident was appalling, their attitude is get these people out of our country, then they are not our problem. We were not provided with food or water, one group had to endure 12 hours without anything until the airline provided a sandwich, some crisps and a boiled egg!"

1245 Fresh fruit imports have been hit by the flight cancellations, says the BBC's business reporter Dominic Laurie.

One of the biggest suppliers to UK supermarkets, Blue Skies, says fruit from Brazil, Ghana, South Africa and Egypt, all of which goes through Heathrow, has been left rotting in its countries of origin, while stocks on UK supermarket shelves are running out.

1239 Sandra A Wilks of Southampton University sent this picture to the BBC News website. She took it on Thursday evening, as she was driving towards Selfoss in Iceland.

1235 Icelandic journalist Iris Erlingsdottir, writing in the Huffington Post, says: "Perhaps it is part of our national character to ignore potential dangers until it's too late.

Page 30: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

Volcanos created Iceland, and have, at times, done their best to destroy its human interlopers."

1219The BBC's Roland Buerk in Tokyo says the effects are being felt across Asia: "In Singapore, a major hub, airlines announced early on Saturday that more than 20 planes would not be leaving. Stranded passengers said it was all but impossible to find a hotel room in the city.

"It was the same in Hong Kong, and Australia's Qantas cancelled all its flights to Europe on Saturday and offered passengers refunds or the opportunity to rebook on a later date."

1212 Although technically not the country's fault - more thanks to Mother Nature - the volcanic ash has prompted the Daily Telegraph to ponder: What has Iceland done for Britain?

1206 The BBC in Jersey reports that Aurigny and Blue Islands have been given permission to fly to the other Channel Islands but there are no commercial flights from Jersey to mainland UK or Europe.

1200 BBC correspondents have been tweeting about their personal experiences of the travel disruption. Lyse Doucet has had to travel by train from Kabul to London.

She tweets: "In Cologne. Standing room only on trains in Europe travel chaos. People ordered off trains. Too full to move! Stay calm urges one passenger!"

Read more of her tweets here.

1156 These excellent maps show how the ash has spread from Iceland over the past few days - and where it is likely to go next. Southern Scotland and the north of England appear to be missing the worst of it.

1146 The Met Office's Brian Golding has been telling the BBC what needs to happen for the ash to clear.

1140 Philosopher - and Heathrow airport's writer-in-resident - Alain de Botton has written for the BBC's Today programme about what a world without aircraft might look like.

"Everything would, of course, go very slowly. It would take two days to reach Rome, a month before one finally sailed exultantly into Sydney harbour. And yet there would be benefits tied up in this languor."

1136 Winds blowing the ash cloud across Europe will continue in the same direction for at least two days, and could persist until the middle of next week, the Icelandic Met Office has said.

Page 31: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

1133 Tom in London e-mails: "I was meant to be taking my wife to New York today for her 30th birthday. Have spent the past two days hoping that this would all blow over - no pun intended. Heading off to Lake District tomorrow instead - at least this way, we'll be spending some money in the UK! New York will still be there and we can try going again another time."

1130 British Airways has cancelled all its short haul flights for Sunday, but long haul flights are still being reviewed by the company.

1122 A number of amateur pilots say they plan to fly over London Gatwick airport in small planes at lunchtime - below the affected altitude - because it's a location they're not normally allowed to fly over.

Air ambulance services in the West Midlands region of the UK are now operational after being grounded by the ash.

1118 The BBC's Malcolm Brabant in Greece says:

"Thousands of tourists are stranded as the cancellation signs spread like a plague through airports on the mainland and popular islands. The British Embassy in Athens says that for the time being people are self-reliant and have not asked for consular assistance.

"The tourist industry in debt-ridden Greece is concerned that it will have a bleak summer because of the poor exchange rate of the pound against the euro. But hotel owner George Barboutis said he sees the volcano disruption as an opportunity to demonstrate Greek 'filoxenia' or hospitality."

1114 Daniel J Wakin, writing in the New York Times, says the flight chaos could lead to the cancellation of a lot of musical performances around the world in the coming days.

1110 Olympic cycle champion Bradley Wiggins will miss a race in the Netherlands because of the disruption. And he's not the only sports person whose plans have been scuppered by the ash cloud.

1105 Seasidechap in Brighton tweets: "Got a filthy windscreen this morning. So has everyone else in area."

1041 Some passengers turned up to Glasgow airport from elsewhere in the UK, still hopeful of flying out as flights continued late on Friday, says the BBC's Julie Peacock at the airport.

As the ash cloud moves and changes shape, there is hope some services from Glasgow to the Western Isles may fly, but the advice is to check with individual airlines.

You can read more about the situation in Scottish airports here.

Page 32: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

1041The BBC's Roland Buerk in Tokyo says passengers in Narita airport - half a world away from Iceland - are spending an uncomfortable night camping in the departure lounge: "Airlines have handed out sleeping bags and blankets but there have been complaints there aren't enough to go round. The longer the airports are closed the longer the backlog of passengers builds up.

"One British family said passengers were besieging the airline desks, demanding written guarantees they will be put on the first available flights."

1031 Paul Haskins, head of safety at the National Air Traffic Control Service has told the BBC the volcanic ash is highly hazardous for aircraft.

"The volcano continues to erupt, in fact reports last night suggest that it's more active than it previously was. That ash is continuing to be emitted into the atmosphere and the weather conditions are blowing it down towards UK air space. So for safety reasons, we have had to apply the International contingency plans that you have seen in place."

1019 Londoner Aaron Soni e-mails: "We are stranded in Australia, all our work commitments are in chaos. Weather is fine but it's getting expensive to pay all the bills.

"We were going to leave on Saturday, but have been told not to bother checking back with the airline till Thursday at the earliest. We are visiting parents in Melbourne so can stay there, but my wife is meant to be at work and my son is meant to be back at school on Tuesday. But we have more time to bond now with my parents - so there is a positive."

You can read more of your stories here.

1016 Channel Islands air bosses are meeting at Guernsey Airport to discuss whether inter-island and private flights can resume. Flights between the Channel Islands fly below controlled airspace.

1013 SG in Shanghai emails: "Having a terrible time over in China - no help, food, water or information from our airline! Tears and tantrums at the airport with some people stuck without visas and money!"

1008 The BBC's John Brain at Heathrow airport says it is eerily quiet: "This is normally one of the noisiest spots to report from in the entire UK but apart from the traffic it's very quiet. You can even hear the birdsong."

1000Dunk Gray in London e-mails: "No noise pollution or air pollution in Canning Town. Let's hope for another quiet day - reclaim our skies!"

Page 33: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

0956 The Information is Beautiful blog has been comparing the CO2 output per day of the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano and the European air industry and come up with an interesting graphic.

0950 If you are unable to travel and wondering what your passenger rights are, BBC personal finance reporter Kevin Peachey has the answer to some of your questions.

0945 Gilesdouglas tweets: "Got a space on a ferry to Wales by lying and saying I had a bicycle (sold out of foot traffic)."

0941 Saturday is the first day scientists will be able to fly above the volcano to assess activity, says Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson of the University of Iceland .

The ash plume is rising 8.5km (5.3 miles) into the air and geologists will look at how much ice - which cools the magma - has melted around the volcano, and how long the eruption and disruption could last.

0937 This fascinating video from the BBC's Britain from Above series shows what the skies above the UK usually look like, with more than 7,500 aircraft crossing it every day.

0930 The BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Frankfurt says: "Airport officials at what is normally one of Europe's busiest hubs have turned the transit lounges and departure halls into dormitories - providing 1,500 emergency beds for stranded passengers, together with blankets, food and water."

0924 The ash has hit football. Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has been grounded . Manager Rafa Benitez says he could still play for the club in crucial games next week but at the moment he is unable to return to Spain to see a specialist about his knee.

0918 Brian Golding at the Met Office has told the BBC the ash had started to disperse but a new swathe of ash has now begun to move across the north of the UK.

"At one stage yesterday we hoped there was going to be a gap between the two but that gap seems to be rapidly disappearing."

0912 Aerlinesnews tweets: "We are basically a city without citizens now" says Schiphol spokeswoman, referring to the many facilities behind passport control."

0905 Virtually all of Europe's major airports remain closed as the ash drifts south from Iceland. Millions of air travellers are stranded after some 16,000 flights were cancelled on Friday. Airlines are estimated to be losing some £130m a day in the biggest airspace shutdown since World War II.

0855Ed Chivers from Sheffield e-mails:

Page 34: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

"Icelandic ash has fallen to ground in Sheffield overnight - the cars on my street are liberally dusted with a greyish-brown layer of it."

Have you seen signs of ash in your street? Send us your photos of ash covered cars, send your pictures to [email protected] or text them to 61124. If you have a large file you can upload here.> Read the terms and conditions

0855 Photohumorist tweets: "Still so lovely without aircraft over London. Fabulous fog too. Or is it ash?"

0849 If you are wondering why the ash has forced planes to be grounded, the BBC's Science unit has put together some useful information and graphics .

0840 Air traffic control company Nats has just released its latest update on air travel. Restrictions on flights in and out of the UK will remain in place until at least 0100 BST Sunday. But some domestic flights may be able to take off from Scotland and Northern Ireland.

0838Sarah from Aberdeen on an oil rig off the Netherlands e-mails: "I have been stuck on the rig for three extra days as the helicopters have also been grounded. I'm not being paid any extra for over-time either. Flights are being scheduled, but nothing is flying as yet and even when I get back to the beach, I'll still face the prospect of getting back to the UK. It's not so bad for my relief however, who is getting extra days at home."

0833Nigel from Manchester e-mails: "I'm 'stuck' here in Los Angeles after a fun holiday visiting friends. The Americans have been wonderful, showing great sympathy to our situation. Unfortunately, we ran out of money, but our American friends have put us up for the duration and we spent the day at Malibu Beach. Many of the Europeans on our flight weren't too sorry to spend more time here in the US, especially in LA. Life could be worse."

0830 Thousands of flights across much of Europe remain cancelled.

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Institute of Earth Sciences

http://www2.norvol.hi.is/page/ies_Eyjafjallajokull_eruption

Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull

Eruption update: 17 April, morning – stable eruption, change in wind conditions

Page 35: Icelandic Volcano Eruption

Explosive activity at the eruptive site and seismic tremor continue at a relatively stable rate without a decline overnight. Air space over large part of Europe continues to be closed. Eruption plume loaded with tephra (ash) rises to more than 8 km, with tephra fallout in inhabited areas around the volcano. Over 20 lightning recorded in the eruption plume over a 4 hour period. Overnight wind conditions at the eruptive site change. Steady easterly wind that have prevailed since the onset of the explosive eruptive phase replaced by northerly winds that carry the eruption plume away from the volcano to the south. A MODIS satellite image at 03:41 GMT shows the eruption plume bending from south to east, and a NOAA AVHRR satellite image acquired at 07:01 GMT shows plume heading from the volcano towards the south.

Compiled by: Freysteinn Sigmundsson and Ingibjörg Jónsdóttir

Explosive eruptive phase of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Iceland, begins 14 April 2010

The eruption plume from Iceland that has caused the unprecedentedcatastrophic disruption of air traffic and closure of airspaces over northern Europe is due to an explosive eruptive phase that began at the Eyjafjallajökull volcano on April 14. It is a continuation of eruptive activity in the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic system that began 20 March 2010. During an initial eruptive phase from 20 March to 12 April lava flowed from eruptive vents on the volcano flanks, outside its ice cover. The lava erupted in the initial phase is alkali-olivine basalt, with silica content of about 47%.

After a short hiatus in eruptive activity a new set of craters opened up in early morning of 14 April under the volcano’s ice covered central summit caldera. This eruptive phase was preceded with a swarm of earthquakes from around 23:00 on 13 April to 1:00 on 14 April. The earthquake swarm was followed by the onset of seismic eruption tremor. Meltwater started to emanate from the ice cap around 7 o’clock on April 14 and eruption plume was observed in the early morning. Visual observations were limited by cloud cover over the volcano, but an airplane of the Iceland coast Guard imaged with eruptive crates with radar instrument. Series of vents along a 2 km long north-south oriented fissure were active, with meltwater flowing down northern slopes of the volcano, but also to the south. Ash loaded eruption plume rose to more than 8 km height, deflected to the east by westerly winds.

Jokulhlaups (floods of meltwater) reached the lowlands around the volcano with peak flow around noon on April 14, with destruction of roads, infrastructure, and farmlands. No fatalities as people had been evacuated from hazardous areas. Tephra fall begins in southeast Iceland. A second jokulhlaup/lahar emanates from the ice cap down the Markarfljot valley in the evening.

On 15 April the eruption plume reaches mainland Europe with closure of airspace over large part of Northern Europe. Activity continues at a similar level with ash generation and flow of meltwater in pulses. Jokulhlaup/lahar occurs in the evening. On April 16 some variability occurs in seismic tremor and tephra generation, but overall the eruptive

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activity remains stable. Pulsating eruptive plume reaches above 8 km, with overall height of 5 km. Large closures of airspace continue.

Chemical analyses of ash samples reveal fluorine rich intermediate eruptive products with silica content of 58%, more evolved than in the initial lava producing phase of the eruptive activity. The magma composition may reflect evolution from alkali-olivine basalt by crystalfractionation as erupted in the initial phase.

Contacts:Freysteinn Sigmundsson ([email protected]), Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson ([email protected]), Niels Oskarsson ([email protected]), Gudrun Larsen ([email protected]), Sigrun Hreinsdottir ([email protected]), Pall Einarsson ([email protected]), Rikke Pedersen ([email protected]), Ingibjorg Jonsdottir ([email protected]), Nordic Volcanological Center, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland

Steinunn Jakobsdottir ([email protected]), Kristin S. Vogfjord ([email protected]), Sigurlaug Hjaltadottir ([email protected]), Gunnar B. Gudmundsson ([email protected]), Matthew J. Roberts (matthew@vedur.is), Icelandic Meteorological Office, Reykjavik, Iceland.

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European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation Organisation

http://www.eurocontrol.int/corporate/gallery/content/public/docs/pdf/pressreleases/2010/100415_Volcanic_Ash_Statement_final.pdf

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release, 15 April 2010

Update on European Air Traffic situation

Brussels, Belgium – The EUROCONTROL Central Flow Management Unit wasadvised yesterday afternoon of a volcanic ash cloud moving from Iceland in aeasterly direction towards north western European countries.In accordance with agreed international procedures the Central FlowManagement Unit (CFMU), air navigation service providers (ANSP) andmeteorological authorities put in place the appropriate coordination proceduresin order to handle this event.Based on the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation normalair traffic control services cannot be provided to flights in airspaces affected byvolcanic ash. Therefore several air navigation service providers have issuednotifications to airlines requiring the temporary suspension of air traffic. Thesesuspensions are being put in place via air traffic flow management restrictionsbeing implemented by the CFMU.

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At present most air traffic in the north of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark,Norway and Sweden is suspended. These restrictions will be extended tocover the southern United Kingdom area in the coming hours.The main north Atlantic east bound flow arrived at European airports with littledisruption. Routes to handle the afternoon westbound flow have been movedto the south to avoid the volcanic ash zone. However, it is expected that thisflow of traffic will be disrupted.Regular teleconferences attended by ANSPs, airport authorities, airlines andCFMU are being held to advise all parties of the measures.Passengers seeking information on flights should contact their airline or airport.For further information, please contact:Kyla Evans/Catherine De Smedt, Tel: +32 2 729 50 95 Email:[email protected] more information via the website: www.eurocontrol.intNote to Editors:EUROCONTROL, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation,has as its primary objective to develop a seamless, pan-European air trafficmanagement (ATM) system that fully copes with the growth in air traffic, whilemaintaining a high level of safety, reducing costs and respecting theenvironment. EUROCONTROL has 38 Member States: Albania, Armenia,Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, CzechRepublic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland.

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BLF says ash cloud is unlikely to cause lung health problemshttp://www.lunguk.org/media-and-campaigning/media-centre/latestpressreleases/ash-cloud-health-effects

Thursday April 15, 2010

The British Lung Foundation is advising members of the public that an ash cloud over Scotland, caused by a volcanic eruption in Iceland is very unlikely to result in health problems because it is so high up in the atmosphere. However patients with lung conditions should carry their medication as a precaution.

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The eruption which took place in Iceland yesterday is the second in the Eyjafjallajoekull area in one month. Several earthquakes have been registered in the area and geologists have said the eruption is likely to be taking place directly under a huge ice sheet.

The eruption has caused an ash cloud which is currently over Scotland and has resulted in Air Traffic Control Service (Nats) grounding the majority of flights from most major UK airports including Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick.

The restrictions, in accordance with international civil aviation policy, were imposed after the Met Office warned ash could clog engines. Passengers are being advised to contact their carriers prior to travel.

Professor Malcolm Green, British Lung Foundation spokesperson says: “The ash cloud that is presently over Scotland is unlikely to pose a health hazard to our lungs. This is because the cloud is at present high up in the atmosphere and not at ground level. However we would recommend anyone living with a lung condition to carry their medication as a precaution. The British Lung Foundation’s Helpline can also provide advice to anyone concerned about the ash cloud on 08458 50 50 20.”

BLF offers further advice as ash cloud remains over the UKhttp://www.lunguk.org/media-and-campaigning/media-centre/latestpressreleases/blf-offers-further-advice

Friday April 16, 2010

In light of the news that ash has started to reach ground level in the UK, the British Lung Foundation is advising people with a lung condition in affected areas to carry their medication as a precaution as they may experience short-term worsening of symptoms. However the British Lung Foundation stresses that the ash does not pose a significant health risk to the public.

The eruption which took place in Iceland on Wednesday is the second in the Eyjafjallajoekull area in one month. Several earthquakes have been registered in the area and geologists have said the eruption is likely to be taking place directly under a huge ice sheet.

Professor Malcolm Green, British Lung Foundation spokesperson says: “In light of the latest news that ash from the volcanic eruption in Iceland has started to reach ground level in the UK, we would advise people living with a lung condition in affected areas to carry their medication as a precaution as they may experience a short term worsening of

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symptoms. The British Lung Foundation’s Helpline can also provide advice to anyone concerned about the ash cloud on 08458 50 50 20.”

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Research aircraft successfully obtains data from volcanic plume16 April 2010

http://www.nerc.ac.uk/press/notes/

Natural Environment Research Council

The research team using the Natural Environment Research Council's Dornier 228 aircraft flew a second, highly successful mission, today.

The Dornier took off from Cranfield airfield at around 3.45pm this afternoon. It flew to the North East of London where it located and tracked the edge of the plume over East Anglia and the North Sea, and towards the dutch coastline.

Flying at just below 10,000 feet, the research instruments identified three distinct layers of volcanic residue. Heavy, gritty particles seem to be sitting at around 8,000 feet, whilst lower down in the atmosphere there are sulphurous chemicals and finer dust particles.

This data will now be analysed and the results will be used by the Met Office to help with forecasting models and to inform the aviation industry.

The Dornier is also fitted with a storm scope and a weather radar, which are standard instruments in any commercial planes, and these were not able to detect the volcanic clouds.

Dr Guy Gratton from the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements based at Cranfield, said, 'Speaking as an aeronautical engineer, I wouldn't want to be putting a big aeroplane up in that at the moment.'

This page will be updated if more information becomes available over the weekend.

Research aircraft to fly to the edge of volcanic plume over Britain

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http://www.nerc.ac.uk/press/releases/2010/17-icelandvolcano.asp

15 April 2010

The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, located about 75 miles east of Reykjavik and which began erupting on 20 March this year, is causing chaos at UK airports as a massive plume of ash is blown across northern Britain.

The Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) Airborne Research & Survey Facility (ARSF) is flying its Dornier 228 research aircraft this evening. Piloted by Captain Carl Joseph with co-pilot David Davies, the aircraft will fly a small research team led by Dr Guy Gratton, Head of the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM), to the edge of the volcanic plume over Britain. Using specially adapted research instrumentation, the team will record data relating to the height, density and position of the plume. It is expected that their findings will feed into Met Office dispersion models and forecasts and will aid advice to the airports, as well as improving future forecasts.

Peter Purcell, Head of NERC Airborne Research Facilities, said, 'The Dornier 228 is an extremely adaptable and capable aircraft. The highly professional crew were able to reconfigure the aircraft at very short notice to undertake this mission. The instrumentation will allow the crew to safely monitor the atmospheric conditions as the plume is approached.'

Dr Sue Loughlin, who leads the Volcanology team at the British Geological Survey (BGS), said, 'Ash has been reported at 55,000 feet over northern Scotland. Where it goes now depends on wind speed and direction. The last eruption of Eyjafjallajökull lasted about two years, and so there may be more similar events.'

NERC's National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) is also tracking the plume. Professor Stephen Mobbs, Director of NCAS, said, 'NCAS scientists use the NOAA HYSPLIT model to track the dispersion of the volcanic plume. This tracks the trajectories of atmospheric pollutants from sources using the observed wind fields as interpreted by global weather forecasting models. The latest predictions suggest that volcanic material emitted from Iceland between 12 noon and midnight yesterday will be arriving over the UK this afternoon.'

'This eruption on Eyjafjallajökull began on the north-east flank where there is no ice and it was very small. The volcano is now erupting from the central crater which is under the ice cap. It is melting the ice, causing significant flooding around the volcano.'

The interaction of magma with water has created a plume of volcanic ash and gas over 10 km high, which has spread out and been carried by winds eastwards towards the Faroe Islands, Norway, and northern Scotland.

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The ash plume contains large amounts of microscopic particles of hard volcanic rock which, although it does not show up on weather radar, can have serious affects on aircraft flying through it. The Dornier 228 is able to fly where commercial airlines cannot, due to its ability to 'see' the volcanic plume via the research instruments on board.

Dr Guy Gratton, Head of FAAM, explains: 'Because the ash is electrically conductive, it can cause thunder and lightning, or cause St Elmo's Fire - an effect where metal parts of the aeroplane start to glow. The airspeed indicator - which is essential for safe flight - can be adversely affected making control of the aeroplane very difficult. Dust is also likely to enter the aeroplane causing sulphurous smells and haze.'

As they touch the aeroplane, and particularly the engines, the hard rock particles can wear away the aircraft skin, windscreens, and engine components. At the high temperatures inside a jet engine the particles can potentially block fuel nozzles or even melt and then solidify in other parts of the engine causing mishandling or engine stoppage (called a "flame-out").

NERC Press OfficeNatural Environment Research CouncilPolaris House, North Star AvenueSwindon, SN2 1EUTel: 01793 411727 or 411561Mob: 07917 086369 or 557215

Notes

1. The Dornier is operated by the NERC Airborne Research & Survey Facility, which is based in Gloucestershire. It is being deployed under the Civil Contingencies Procedures agreed with the Cabinet office.More information about ARSF.

2. The International Civil Aviation Organisation published volcanic ash contingency plans in 2005, which are currently being following by the United Kingdom and other countries in response to the eruption at the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier in Iceland. This has particularly included refusal to accept any "Instrument Flight Rules" flight plans - the effect of which is to effectively close the United Kingdom to all commercial air traffic entering or leaving; the UK military has issued similar warnings to home-based military aeroplanes. At present the airports themselves are technically unaffected, but this may change as the dust cloud descends, particularly since the dust may contaminate runways making aircraft stopping distances unpredictable.

Press release: 17/10

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Eurostar – Rail Network in Europe

http://www.eurostar.com/dynamic/_SvBoExpressBookingTerm?_TMS=1271523984350&_DLG=SvBoExpressBookingTerm&_LANG=UK&_AGENCY=ESTAR&country=UK&lang=UK&VT=EB

17 April 2010

“We are doing everything we can by adding extra trains to help passengers who are experiencing problems as a result of the disruption to air travel in Europe but inevitably our trains are extremely busy over the weekend.

We would ask that you only come to our stations if you hold a confirmed reservation for travel.”

Transforming Short-Haul Travel in Europe

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Europe's transport system feels strain as disruption continueshttp://edition.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/04/16/europe.travel.chaos/index.htmlBy Paul Armstrong, CNN

April 16, 2010 -- Updated 1806 GMT (0206 HKT)

London, England (CNN) -- Rail and ferry services across Europe have been swamped by thousands of frustrated passengers forced to seek alternate modes of transport, as a volcanic ash cloud continues to disrupt European air travel.

The plumes resulted in the closure of some of the world's busiest airports, including Charles de Gaulle in Paris and London's Heathrow, as national aviation authorities closed

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airspace across much of Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Poland.

"We've not seen anything like this before," said Rochelle Turner of Which? Holiday magazine. "It's been pretty devastating. We've seen television pictures of people stranded and airports empty. It's been difficult to provide them with advice because the picture keeps changing.

"However I'm pleased to see that many of the airlines are providing clear updates and information on their Web sites. But the best thing for people to do is to make alternative arrangements, such as rebooking your flight or seeking a refund."

Under European regulations, passengers whose flights have been cancelled must be given a choice between rerouting to their final destination or a full refund.

But the need to travel has forced many people to look at alternate modes of transport, which is putting strain on Europe's transport network.

Britain

Britain's air traffic authority, NATS, said airspace over much of the UK would be closed to all flights except emergencies at least until 1 a.m. Saturday (8 p.m. ET Friday), prompting many people to head for rail stations and ferry ports.

Eurostar, which provides Britain's only land link with Europe, urged people to stay away from its St. Pancras rail terminal in central London unless they held a confirmed reservation for travel. They reported a huge surge in demand for tickets.

Nicola Marinelli, from Mantiova in northern Italy, told CNN he arrived in London on Wednesday to watch some musicals and is now stuck. "I'm trying to get to Paris to get a train to Italy," he said.

Francis Kruyer, a London-based finance analyst, explained he was trying to buy a Eurostar ticket from Brussels to London for his boss, who is stuck in Frankfurt. "On the Web site the tickets were available," he said. "But when I put in my payment details it just went down."

P&O ferries, which operates many of the sea routes between Britain and Europe, said its Web site was struggling to cope with a huge increase in enquiries and urged customers to call its contact center with enquiries or to book a crossing on any route. It added that there was no space available on its busiest service between Dover in southern England and Calais in northern France.

Many travelers, however, had little option but to find hotel accommodation for the night, which is particularly difficult in London according to Visit London. A spokesperson for

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the city's official visitor organization told CNN that most hotels in the capital have an 80 percent occupancy rate at this time of year.

In addition to people trying to leave the UK, the continued disruption was likely to affect thousands of holidaymakers trying to return to Britain after the Easter break.

The Travel Association (ABTA), which represents hundreds of UK tour operators, told CNN that its members will be doing all they can to help passengers during this unprecedented crisis. But it said tour operators did not have a legal obligation to pay for extra accommodation for travelers stranded in holiday resorts.

Christian Cull of First Choice and Thomson Holidays told CNN that they are focused on helping people out in their resorts and customers at airports, while those who have booked holidays already that have been affected by cancellations will be offered alternative trips.

However, insurance cover is slightly more complicated, according to Rochelle Turner. She warned that travel insurance companies have been inconsistent with their advice to customers.

"It's difficult for many to know if they're covered," she said. "Some say you are, while other policies are calling it 'an act of God.' No-one has one clear policy so it's all about reading the small-print."

Republic of IrelandLow-budget Irish carrier Ryanair said that based on current meteorological forecasts it expected fight cancellations to continue till at least 1300GMT Monday.

As a result, it said, it has decided to cancel all scheduled flights to and from the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, Northern France, Northern Germany, Poland and the Baltic States until that time.

"This decision has been taken by Ryanair in order to allow passengers to apply for a full refund or rebook onto flights operating later next week," the statement continued, "when Ryanair hopes that improved weather conditions may allow normal flight services to resume."

Irish Ferries, which operates services between Ireland and the UK, said flight cancellations by carriers including Aer Lingus and Ryanair had a "huge impact" on business and that extra staff were brought in to deal with reservations.

According to the Irish Times, The Jonathan Swift sailings from Dublin to Holyhead on Friday were "sold to capacity," while a spokesman for Stena Line said it was "under siege," with one ship described as "packed to the gunwales."

France

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Across the English Channel, a rail strike threatened to bring further chaos to an already busy weekend in France.

The strike by rail workers, in its tenth day, brought disruption to the high-speed TGV service, as well as regional trains in the south of the country.

"The roads will be very busy as thousands of school children from the Paris area are returning from their Easter break, while children from other regions start theirs," said CNN's Jim Bitterman.

More than 20 airports have been closed, while thousands of stranded passengers scrambled to find other options, such as renting cars and taking trains. France 24 reported that large crowds of disgruntled passengers converged on Paris's Gare du Nord station where Eurostar laid on three extra Paris-London trains.

Poland

At Warsaw's main train station, CNN's Frederik Pleitgen explained that people were queuing for up to four hours for tickets, but now most of Friday's services out of the the capital are fully booked.

One American family pored over a map as they surveyed their options for getting back to the United States. One option, the father explained, was to take a train to Vienna, Austria and then hopefully catch whatever flight was U.S.-bound.

"The second option is to take a ten-hour train journey to Frankfurt, via Berlin, then hope we can get a connection to America when we get there," he said.