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Ash cloud scuttles hundreds of flights; Logan impact minimal

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  May 24, 2011 12:00 PM

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Hundreds of flights have been cancelled in Europe today as the erupting Iceland volcano continues to spread ash across the continent. Some 500 flights in Northern Ireland, Scotland and parts of Scandinavia, were to be affected, according to Eurocontrol, the British air traffic management organization.

In a recent update on its website, Eurocontrol writes, "According to the  Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre predictions, there is a strong possibility that the ash cloud may impact parts of Denmark, southern Norway and south-west Sweden by tomorrow. This would have some impact on flights.However, given the new procedures in place and the predicted movement of the ash cloud over the coming days, the actual impact on flights is expected to be relatively low."

Ash from the Grimsvotn volcano also forced President Barack Obama to cut his visit to Ireland short and there was initially some fear that the region could be in store for major travelling headaches like last year when the Eyjafjalljokull volcano affected millions of travelers. That eruption caused the largest closure of European airspace since World War II. However, such blanket cancellations aren't expected this time around because scientific research since then has reportedly showed that airplanes could handle up to 20 times higher the ash contamination than airline officials had previously believed.

For constant updates from BBC reporters Vanessa Barford and Caroline McClatchey, visit www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13519623


UPDATE:  The ash cloud has had minimal impact on passengers traveling in and out of Logan International Airport. Icelandair canceled its Boston flight on Sunday, and its Monday night flight into Logan arrived about six hours late. Logan officials said today's Icelandair flight could be delayed again but aren't expecting any other disruptions. 


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