Norway’s civil aviation authority Avinor announced Friday it was opening some air space in central- and northern Norway for a limited time, but all other Norwegian air space would remain closed, probably through the weekend.
Avinor wrote on its website Friday that it would allow “limited air traffic” between Trondheim’s airport at Værnes and Stokmarknes. It said it believed air travel was safe in that area over Helgeland, based on “the most recent meteorological data” that was internationally accepted. It later opened air space over Tromsø as well.
Avinor said air space would remain open for 12 hours over Bodø, Lofoten and Helgeland, but only for six hours over Værnes. Officials would continue to closely monitor the movements of the volcanic cloud drifting in from Iceland (photo) that has made air travel hazardous and grounded flights all over northern Europe.
Airline Widerøe told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that it was taking advantage of the opening and sent a flight from Bodø to Trondheim.
Avinor announced that air space over all other areas of Norway remained closed. All major airports at Oslo, Stavanger (Sola) and Bergen (Flesland) therefore remained closed as well, possibly for another 48 hours.
Avinor officials said earlier on Friday that forecasts for the weather and the volcanic cloud’s movement “were not promising,” with one meteorologist predicting the cloud will move over Oslo on Sunday. That would keep all commercial aircraft on the ground.
The airlines face major losses from the sudden and complete cancellation of their service. Both Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Norwegian were scrambling to provide alternative means of ground transport for their passengers, chartering in buses to make long-distance run from Oslo, for example, to Bergen, Ålesund, Stavanger and other airline destinations.
Passengers can either accept the alternative transport offers, have their tickets refunded or book other flights if possible.
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Information from Avinor, in English (external link)