LONDON – A cloud of dense ash from a volcano in Iceland flew to Scotland on Monday, causing airlines to cancel flights, forcing the president Barack Obama to shorten a visit to Ireland, and increased fears a repeat of the disruptions of last year traveling in Europe huge stranded millions of passengers.
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Britain's Civil Aviation Authority said it appears that the ash from the volcano Grímsvötn could reach the airspace of Scotland on Tuesday and affect other parts of the UK and Ireland at the end of the week.
British Airways suspended all flights on Tuesday morning between London and Scotland, while Dutch carrier KLM and Ryanair canceled flights to and from Scotland and northern England, at the same time. Two domestic airlines also announced suspension of flights.
But officials say they do not expect the kind of land mass of flights that followed the eruption of the volcano last year Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland because the systems and procedures have improved since then and the cloud is not expected to move on continental Europe.
unions of pilots, however, expressed concern that the ash could be dangerous.
Obama, who had planned to spend Monday night in Ireland, was forced to fly to London early because of the ash cloud. Icelandic eruption last year also forced a change in its time then, causing him to cancel a trip to Poland.
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based regional airline Loganair Glasgow canceled 36 flights scheduled for Tuesday morning. It said its flights between the islands of Scotland would be unaffected. Another small airline, Eastern Airways, which is based in northern England, also canceled all flights to and from Scotland on Tuesday.
"Our No. 1 priority is to ensure the safety of those on board aircraft and on land," said Andrew Haines, executive director of the CEA. "We can not rule out the interruption, but the new provisions have been implemented since the ash cloud last year, the aviation sector is better prepared and help reduce any disruption in the event that affects the volcanic ash UK air space. "
Many airlines last year said officials overstated the risk to aircraft and an overreaction by the closure of airspace for five days amid fears that the abrasive ash can cause engine stall.
CAA spokesman Jonathan Nicholson said officials on this occasion will provide information on the location of the airlines and the density of the ash cloud. Any airline that would fly would have to submit a safety report to the aeronautical authorities to be allowed to fly.
He said most of the British carriers had permission to fly through ash clouds average density, but had not requested permission to fly through dense clouds, categorized with more than 4,000 micrograms per cubic meter of ash .
Even at this concentration of volcanic ash, experts say the air does not look very different from the airspace covered by the ash, but officials say that small particles of ash can sandblast the windows and let the jet engine .
The international pilots 'federation', he warned that create the cloud continues to pose a threat to commercial aviation despite developments since last year.
"It remains our view that when there is an unknown then it is always better to err on the side of caution," said Gideon Ewers, spokesman for the International Federation of Airline Pilots.
Thurai Rahulan, professor of aeronautics at the University of Salford in northwest England, said the technology on how to measure and monitor the ash has improved, but the airplane's ability to cope with the ash has not changed.
"Aircraft manufacturers have more resources available to carry out studies to tolerate high concentrations of ash, but to my knowledge, no improvements have not reached the frontline operations, however," he said.
Disruption in Scotland is being caused by the lesser of two volcanic ash clouds. The main cloud was causing minor interruptions throughout Scandinavia.
Iceland's main airport, Keflavik, Reykjavik airport reopened both national and Monday after being closed for almost 36 hours. Grímsvötn erupted on Saturday.
Hjordis Gudmundsdottir, airport spokesman Isavia administrator, said the first flight take-off would be an Icelandair flight to London Heathrow.
"Prospects are good for Keflavik and other airports in Iceland in the next 24 hours," Gudmundsdottir. "We have a forecast for thereafter so wait and see."
The Met Office weather forecasters in Britain, said there had been major changes in the weather forecast – a bit of ash drifting into the airspace of the United Kingdom, particularly in Scotland and Northern Ireland morning.
But the climate in the UK has been very volatile in the past two days and will continue in the coming days, making predictions difficult.
"When the whole place, which is a little more difficult to predict where things can go," said meteorologist Charlie Powell.
A weather official said the rash Iceland and appeared to be shrinking, but Thierry Mariani, the French Minister of Transport, said it was too early to tell whether the aviation industry in Europe will be affected by the eruption.
Mariani told Europe 1 radio that the composition of the cloud will be discussed in the next few days and if the ash is considered hazardous to aircraft, countries may adopt a joint decision to close part of the European airspace.
"The priority must always remain to ensure security," he said.
Secretary of Transportation of the United Kingdom Phillip Hammond told the BBC that Britain had teams in Iceland analysis of the ash out of the volcano, and equipment in the UK to analyze the density of the ash.
"We will not see a blanket closure of airspace," he said.
The plume is primarily derived from the south at an altitude of 5 km to 9 km (16,404 feet 29,528 feet), the Icelandic Meteorological Office said in a report Monday. These are the normal altitude of passenger planes, and the pen fell from a height of 50,000 feet on Sunday, said Steinunn Jakobsdottir, a geophysicist at the forecaster.
The eruption has decreased slightly since Sunday and no earthquakes were recorded at the site since then, the forecaster said.
Models of European air traffic control agency showed the main plume of ash extending gradually to the north of Iceland in the next two days. The tag provides the arc to the north of Scandinavia and possibly touch the islands of the northern coast of Russia in the next two days.
Eurocontrol said the smaller ash plume is not expected to move further east than the west coast of Scotland.
Some airline chiefs complained that regulators had overreacted by closing a large portion of airspace in Europe last year, stranding millions of passengers and causing great losses to the airlines. But a study last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded the closure was justified.
The possibility of rupture seems to be affecting airline shares, which fell more than the market average. AIG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, closed up 5.1 percent on the day, while Lufthansa shed 3.5 percent and Air France-KLM fell 4.5 percent.
Lekic reported from Brussels. Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, Gabriele Steinhauser and Caserta Royal Air Force in Brussels, and Maria Cheng contributed to this report.
© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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