Iceland Volcanic Ash Disrupts Hundreds of Flights

Volcanic ash from the eruption of Gimsvotn in Iceland may force the cancellation of hundreds of flights on Tuesday.

A Eurocontrol spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal that up to 500 flights are expected to be cancelled over safety concerns. In general, there are about 29,000 flights every day in Europe, she said.

Norwegian airport operator Avinor said there is already “some” restrictions to air traffic because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

“We didn’t think it (the ash) would come this quickly, but strong western winds have brought it here,” said Dag Falk-Petersen, Avinor’s chief executive, on Norway’s Tv2.

Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano erupted on Saturday at around 5:30 p.m. local time, just half an hour before Harold Camping’s predicted Judgment Day deadline. Camping had predicted that earthquakes would spread around the world as people were raptured at 6 p.m. local time. The close timing of Grimsvotn volcano’s eruption to the deadline drew some speculation, but nothing serious.

Magnús Tumi Gudmundsson, professor of Geophysics at the University of Iceland, told The Associated Press that the Grimsvotn eruption is was “much bigger and more intensive than Eyjafjallajokull,” which erupted last April. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption shut down the airspace over parts of Europe for five days in 34 countries; airlines had lost millions of euros last year because of the shutdown.

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