Volcanic Ash Disrupts Flights to Scotland

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An ash cloud from the eruption of Iceland's Grímsvötn volcano caused several airlines to ground flights in and out of Scotland on Tuesday morning. President Barack Obama also cut short his visit to Ireland, leaving for London on Monday night instead of Tuesday morning.

Britain's Civil Aviation Authority said the ash could invade Scottish airspace by Tuesday and other parts of the U.K. and Ireland later in the week.

The Dutch carrier KLM and Britain's Eastern Airways canceled Tuesday morning flights from Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley airports. Earlier, British Airways grounded its flights from London to Scotland until at least 2:00 p.m., the airline announced. Aer Lingus, Flybe and Loganair also grounded their aircraft, Britain's The Guardian reported.

A little over a year ago, Britain was forced to close airports for days after volcanic eruptions spawned massive ash clouds.

British Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond told BBC Newsnight Monday evening it was something they would have to learn to live with.

"My understanding is that we have gone through an unusually quiet period for volcanic eruptions in Iceland over the last 20-odd years, and we are moving into a period when there is likely to be significantly more volcanic activity," Hammond said.

According to the report, aircraft can fly safely in a medium density ash cloud but if density levels below 35,000 feet are higher, airliners have to fly around the plume.

Experts said they're not anticipating the massive shutdown that occurred 13 months ago following the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano because the ash has a different consistency.

Britain has also revised its aviation procedures giving the airlines more latitude to decide if it is safe to fly. Pilots reportedly are still concerned the ash could still create dangerous flying conditions.


AP contributed to this report.

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