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Widespread airline cancellations imposed in LAX due to volcanic ash in Europe

2010-04-16 09:05 BJT

LOS ANGELES, April 15 (Xinhua) -- All flights originated from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to British airports were canceled on Thursday until at least 10 p.m. Pacific time ( 0500 GMT) due to the volcanic ash hung in the atmosphere above British and European airports, airlines and airport officials said.

At least one Virgin Atlantic flight and one British Airways flight were canceled late last night, according to Marshall Lowe of Los Angeles World Airports.

United Airlines and American Airlines have already canceled all flights bound for Europe on Thursday, and cancellations by British Airways, Air New Zealand and Lufthansa were also expected, the official said.

Five airlines serving the LAX have about 10 flights daily to the United Kingdom.

The Federal Aviation Administration was working with airlines trying to reroute some flights, a spokeswoman was quoted as saying by local media.

The airspace over Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden was also closed due to the eruption in Iceland. The interruption in air traffic is believed to be the biggest since World War II. Thick ash clouds from Iceland's spewing volcano hang over the Atlantic Ocean close to the flight paths for most routes from the U.S. east and west coast to Europe.

Officials at Heathrow Airport, Britain's busiest, were telling ticketed travelers to go home, because they had no estimate when flights would resume. Some 45,000 people were reported stranded at the Manchester airport this morning.

It was unclear how long atmosphere would be fouled as the volcano was still erupting this morning. A scientist in Iceland said the ejection of volcanic ash could continue for days or even weeks.

The first flight to London, a United Airlines', was scheduled for 12:45 p.m. (0745 GMT).

One of the last Los Angeles-bound flights to make it out of the United Kingdom before British airspace was closed was a United flight set to arrive at 2:38 p.m. (0938 GMT), local television channels reported.


Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua