Airports opened, closed, opened…

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Just when confused travelers thought things were returning to normal, came news of more volcanic ash blowing towards Norway. Four airports on the western and southern coast were forced to close again Tuesday morning but later reopened. Flights were taking off and landing all over the country by mid-afternoon.

The airports at Sola (serving Norway’s oil capital of Stavanger), Haugesund and Stord were all closed Tuesday morning, along with Kjevik, which serves the southern city of Kristiansand.

Aviation officials reported that Bergen would remain open until 11am, and Oslo may need to close at 2pm. It didn’t, and air space later was allowed to remain open until at least 2am Wednesday.

The closures, though, meant 35 of 69 flights scheduled for take-off between 7am and 9am were cancelled on Tuesday, throwing more airline passengers into uncertainty and frustrating airline personnel as well. Reports late Monday night had indicated air traffic would soon be returning to normal.

A new forecast from British meteorologists tracking the volcanic clouds from Iceland said more ash and debris were on their way into Norwegian air space. Many airports further south in Europe remained closed as well.

State railway NSB was able to offer some alternative train travel south to Kristiansand and west over the mountains to Bergen, but an NSB spokesman told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that even the extra trains pressed into service were filling up quickly.

Airport, airline and aviation officials were having a hard time keeping up with the constantly changing situation regarding prospects for safe air travel. Passengers can try getting the latest information from civil aviation agency Avinor’s own web site, (external link) but it seemed to be experiencing technical difficulty as well Tuesday morning.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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