NZ Herald/NZPA: Icelandic eruption disrupts flights

Ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which began erupting in Iceland on Wednesday, has caused flights across the UK and much of Western Europe to be grounded – something not seen in decades.

The grounding is due to the danger posed by volcanic ash – if sucked into airplane engines, it can cause them to fail.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Airports in Britain, Ireland and Nordic countries have been closed because flying is too dangerous. France said it was closing 23 airports and Brussels, Amsterdam and Geneva airports said they had also cancelled a large number of flights.

“It was the first time “within living memory” a natural disaster had caused Britain to close its air space, a spokeswoman for the National Air Traffic Service said.

“The disruption from the ash cloud could last at least two days and affect up to a million people, with long-haul flights to places like New Zealand likely to cause the biggest headaches for airlines.”