150 Chinese flights cancelled
Beijing - More than 150 flights from China to Europe have been cancelled in the past week due to ash from a volcano in distant Iceland, stranding hundreds of passengers, the government said Monday.
"A total of 150 flights have been cancelled since April 14," a spokesperson for China's civil aviation administration said, declining to be named.
The figure includes only the nation's four biggest domestic carriers, and not foreign airlines that have cancelled their flights from China.
Thousands of passengers have been stranded in Europe and China due to the cloud of glass, sand and rock spewing from Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano, which experts say could imperil jet engines.
China Southern Airlines said in a statement on Monday that its cancellations alone had stranded nearly 700 passengers in recent days.
European and international agencies have been in urgent talks to try to ease the chaos after around 30 countries closed or restricted their airspace due to passenger safety fears, catching 6.8 million passengers in a global backlog.
Airlines in China said on Monday they did not know how long the disruptions would last.
"We have not yet received any information on whether the flights will resume again tomorrow," a hotline operator for China Eastern, the nation's third-largest carrier, said.
Hainan Airlines, one of the four Chinese carriers that fly to Europe, said it had already cancelled its Tuesday flight to Brussels.