Europe to lose 1,000 flights to volcanic cloud: Eurocontrol

BRUSSELS, May 17, 2010 (AFP) – The volcanic ash cloud playing havoc with airline schedules will mean the loss of 1,000 flights in Europe on Monday with airports in Britain and the Netherlands hit, the Eurocontrol agency said. The cloud was however expected to disperse over the day, Europe’s intergovernmental air traffic coordinating agency said, as British and Dutch airports were closed because of the risks of flying through the ash.

“Today Eurocontrol expects 28,000 flights in Europe. This is approximately 1,000 less than on a normal day, and is due to the expected impact of the current closure of airspace in the south-east of the UK and in the Netherlands,” it said.

“The areas of ash concentration are mainly at low levels. During the course of the day, the current cloud is expected to disperse somewhat,” it said in one of its regular updates.

By 1200 GMT “the cloud is expected to mainly affect Northern Ireland, parts of Scotland and parts of south-west UK,” it said.

There may also be some disruption to flights in the greater London area and there would be delays due to congestion in airspace adjacent to closed areas, Eurocontrol warned.

The ash cloud forced the closure of Amsterdam’s Schiphol airpor