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Airspace Over Europe Closes Again, Briefly

May 4, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox

Europe suffered a brief flashback to last month's disaster when aviation authorities closed airspace over Ireland, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland for several hours on Tuesday following new concerns about volcanic ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano. The closure was short-lived, however, and by early afternoon only a small expanse over northwestern Scotland remained closed.

The closure came on the heels of April's six-day grounding that canceled approximately 100,000 flights and disrupted travel plans around the world. The New York Times estimates that the shutdown cost airlines between $2 billion and $3 billion in losses.

The paper also reported that Eurocontrol, the Brussels-based agency charged with coordinating air traffic management across the region, said that it did not expect any significant flight disruptions on Tuesday, with roughly 28,000 flights scheduled in Europe — in line with a normal weekday. The Irish aviation authority declared its airspace re-opened at 1 p.m. local time after closing it at 7 a.m. The restrictions did not affect high-altitude overflights of Irish territory.


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