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Iceland ash cloud Europe bound

Monday, May 23, 2011 - 01:49

May.23 - Another Icelandic ash cloud is heading towards Europe but this latest eruption isn't expected to cause as much disruption to air travel as the one which hit Europe last year. Hayley Platt reports

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A massive plume of smoke from one of Iceland's most active volcanos. It's a scene all too familiar following last year's eruption which caused transport chaos and cost airlines millions in lost revenue. This time Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague says things will be different. (SOUNDBITE)(English) BRITAIN'S FOREIGN SECRETARY, WILLIAM HAGUE, SAYING: ''I think we are better prepared and we will have far better information and intelligence which allow us then to adjust things without necessarily the blanket bans on flights that we saw last year. But of course it depends on how the situation develops.'' It's a different volcano from the one that caused cancelled flights across Europe last year. But serious enough for Iceland to close its main airport and put Europe on high alert. Brian Flynn is the head of Europe's air traffic control organisation. (SOUNDBITE)(English) HEAD OF EUROCONTROL'S CENTRAL FLOW MANAGEMENT UNIT, BRIAN FLYNN, SAYING: ''At the moment the wind is blowing from the south-west towards the north-east so it is taking the ash up to the north-east of Iceland. There is expected to be a change in the wind direction so there is some risk that yes indeed, the ash would to some extent come down towards Europe in about 48 hours time." Volcanic ash is expected to reach north-western Scandinavia and parts of the British Isles. But experts say it's impossible to say how much ash will come down. Flynn also stressed there was no threat to international flights at the moment. That will no doubt come as a relief to the crew of Air Force One, the official aircraft of America's President. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are on a four-nation tour of Europe - which for now is keeping to schedule. Hayley Platt, Reuters.

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Iceland ash cloud Europe bound

Monday, May 23, 2011 - 01:49