Airline traffic mostly back to normal

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Norwegian air space and airports were all open on Wednesday with traffic expected to mostly keep “running as normal” throughout the day, according to aviation officials. Some closures in Europe forced various flight cancellations and delays, though, as ash from Iceland’s latest volcanic eruption spread south to the continent.

Airline traffic was halted in and out of Hamburg and Bremen in Germany early Wednesday, for example, and Berlin was threatened with disruption later in the day. Several flights from Norwegian airports were also cancelled to Brussels, Frankfurt, Paris, Copenhagen and Aberdeen Wednesday morning.

The unpredictable nature of the ash clouds continued to raise uncertainty, but passengers were told to assume their flights were operating unless advised otherwise.

In Norway, air traffic from Stavanger resumed Tuesday after being halted at 8am because of ash clouds that moved over the west coast. By Wednesday morning, Sindre Anonsen of civil aviation authority Avinor could tell Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that all traffic within “mainland Norway” would operate “as normal” including helicopter traffic to North Sea oil platforms.

Only flights to and from Svalbard remained suspended because of worrisome ash concentration over the Arctic archipelago.

“The prognoses tell us that areas with low ash concentration are also moving out of Norway, and skies over the mainland are free of ash Wednesday morning,” Anonsen said. Avinor would continue to monitor the situation closely, though, he said.

Both Norwegian Air and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) have received permission from regulators to fly in areas with low- to middle-level ash concentration if they so chose. That means their domestic flights are expected to keep running even if new ash clouds move into Norwegian air space.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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