Volcano ash cloud grounds flights for second day

An aerial photo shows smoke rising from the volcano under a glacier in the Eyjafjallajokull region of Iceland on Wednesday.
England's airspace will remain closed for most of Friday as ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland continues to drift across the country.

The grounding of all non-emergency flights from airports - which began on Thursday morning - will remain in place until at least 1900 BST. This could be extended again following a review of conditions at 0830 BST.

National Air Traffic Services (Nats) imposed the restriction because of the danger the ash poses to aircraft. Tiny particles of rock, glass and sand in the cloud could damage engines.

'No certainty'

Initially, Nats said all flights would be grounded until 1800 BST on Thursday. That was later extended to 0700 BST on Friday and then further lengthened to 1900 BST.

In a statement Nats said: "In general, the situation cannot be said to be improving with any certainty as the forecast affected area appears to be closing in from east to west. "We continue to work closely with airports, airlines, and the rest of Europe to understand and mitigate the implications of the volcanic eruption. "We will review further Met Office information and at 0830 BST we will advise the arrangements that will be in place until 0100 BST on Saturday."

Nats said it could not recall a time when controlled airspace had been completely shut down in the UK.

Manchester, Liverpool, Stansted, Newcastle, Southampton, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Bristol, Gatwick, Heathrow and Blackpool were badly affected on Thursday. Thousands of passengers across England were left stranded and airports cleared of all but essential staff.

Travellers were warned further delays could be expected when restrictions are eventually lifted and they have been advised to check with their airlines for up to date information.
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