Air space open despite more volcanic disruption

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Norwegian aviation authorities were keeping air space open on Monday, even though an ash cloud from Iceland’s volcano was moving in over southern Norway. Several flights were cancelled, though, because of volcanic disruption elsewhere in Europe.

A fresh cloud of ash rises from the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland

Around a thousand flights were delayed or cancelled in the UK and parts of Northern Europe on Monday. The volcano that’s been erupting in Iceland for weeks now (PicApp photo, from Saturday) made it dangerous for aircraft in areas where ash concentration was highest.

While the European and British cancellations also disrupted some travel from Norway, all Norwegian airports were staying open, at least until midnight. The ash concentration, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), wasn’t high enough to damage aircraft engines.

“We have been given the message that we’re on the borderline, but we haven’t been told to close the airport,” Øystein Østensjø at the Haugesund airport on Karmøy told NRK. Nor had the airport in Kristiansand on the southern tip of Norway been told to close.

Aviation authorities said they intended to keep Norwegian air space open. The ash cloud’s co-called “red zone” was moving east from Iceland towards Norway’s west coast, but it wasn’t expected to hover over the mainland and the cloud was said to be relatively thin.

As always, authorities cautioned that the situation was subject to change, and travelers should keep in touch with their airlines. They were keen to keep traffic moving. Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has lost an estimated NOK 600 million because of the volcanic disruptions in recent weeks, while Norwegian Air has lost around NOK 100 million.

Views and News staff