Volcano cloud briefly closes north German airspace

An ash cloud from Iceland briefly forced the closure of several north German airports on Wednesday, including Hamburg and Berlin, even as the Grimsvoetn volcano appeared to stop erupting.

The cloud is the second from an Icelandic volcano in barely a year to disrupt European air traffic and air traffic controllers said they expected 700 flights to be cancelled across Germany alone on Wednesday.

Airports in northern Germany, including those of Hamburg, Bremen, Sylt, Rostock, and Berlin, were all closed for several hours Wednesday morning as the cloud moved south after crossing the North Sea.

But German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer later announced that the cloud "is moving to the northeast and airports will reopen sooner than expected."

Meanwhile, in good news for travellers, geologists in Iceland said that activity at the Grimsvoetn volcano appeared to be over, at least for the time being, and the ash plume at the site of the eruption had almost disappeared.

"There has been no activity since about 0200 GMT this morning," Sigthrudur Armannsdottir of the Icelandic Meteorological Office said Wednesday, while adding that "it's too soon to say the eruption is (completely) over."

The volcano, the most active in Iceland, begun erupting on Saturday, sending a plume of smoke and ash 20 kilometres (12 miles) into the sky.

Air traffic disruption in Germany did not affect major hubs in Frankfurt and Munich Wednesday, but Lufthansa, the country's largest air carrier, said it expected to cancel some 150 flights from cities that lie in the cloud's path.

Air safety officials said they had reopened Bremen airport at 11:00 am (0900 GMT) and Hamburg at midday (1000 GMT).

Berlin's two airports, Tegel and Schoenefeld, which closed at 11:00 am local (0900 GMT) were due to reopen at 2:00 pm (1200 GMT), they added.

Sylt in the North Sea and Rostock on the Baltic were expected to reopen in the afternoon.

On Tuesday, some 500 flights were grounded across northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland as the cloud drifted by, but British airspace was reported clear Wednesday morning.

In the Netherlands, disruption was minimal Wednesday morning.

Passengers at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport "may see some flights to Germany - Hamburg, Hannover, Bremen and now Berlin being disrupted, but otherwise operations continue as normal," Dutch air traffic control spokeswoman Marjolein Wenting told AFP.

The cloud was not expected to directly affect Dutch airports on Wednesday or Thursday, she added.

Further east, Denmark, which Tuesday had closed a small area of its airspace because of the cloud, said the situation had since returned to normal.

"The latest readings have shown there is no longer a concentration of ash in Danish airspace, allowing us to fully reopen it", Camilla Hegnsborg, a spokeswoman for air traffic control Naviair told AFP.

Airspace over parts of the North Sea remained closed however, while Denmark, which is responsible for Greenland's airspace, said it had also ordered the closing of several areas surrounding it.

In France, civil aviation chief Patrick Gandil said Wednesday French airspace would not be closed.

"All our airports will remain open," he said, adding that the G8 summit which was due to start Thursday in the northern seaside resort of Deauville "will not be impacted".

Around 700 were expected to be cancelled in Germany because of the cloud, European air traffic controllers said Wednesday.

Many airlines, which suffered financially from last year's shutdown, say authorities are exaggerating the danger posed by the cloud.

Just over a year ago, ash spewing from another volcano, Eyjafjoell, caused the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, affecting more than 100,000 flights and eight million passengers.

fc/stu/mb

 

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments