Fresh volcanic ash can disrupt plans to reopen European air space

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New York, Apr 20 (ANI): Plans to reopen Europe's major airports today have put on the backburner after fresh volcanic ash cloud was seen drifting towards European air space on Monday night.

The new ash cloud from the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajvkull volcano was seen moving southeast across the Atlantic, officials said.

"The latest information ... shows that the situation is worsening in some areas. This demonstrates the dynamic and rapidly changing conditions in which we are working," said NATS, Britain's leading air navigation services provider.

British Airways and Qantas had hoped to resume flights in and out of London this morning, but new developments prompted a delay in plans. Airports in Scotland were still given the green light to open, the Daily News reports.

Swiss and northern Italian air space was reopening early this morning, and France planned to open some air corridors to Paris.

Earlier in the day, European Union transportation ministers agreed to split the northern European skies in three: A "no-fly" zone where the ash cloud is thickest, a caution zone where planes can fly subject to frequent engine checks for damage and an open-skies zone.

"We should see progressively more planes start to fly," said European Union Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas after a crisis conference with Europe's 27 transportation ministers.

More than a million people have been stranded on an involuntary "volcation" since the Icelandic volcano blew its top last Thursday, spewing so much ash into the sky that in some places day turned to night, the Daily News reports. (ANI)

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