Ash may disrupt UK travel again

2010-05-15 16:04

London - Volcanic ash from Iceland could disrupt air travel in both Britain and Germany in the next few days, officials said on Saturday.

The British department of transport said there was a risk that parts of British airspace could be closed beginning on Sunday and those problems could continue through Tuesday. The predictions are based on the continuing eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokul volcano and current wind and weather conditions.

German air traffic control spokesperson Axel Raab told The Associated Press that German air travel could see possible disruptions starting on Monday. He cautioned, however, that indicators were still "very, very vague".

Germany will send up a test flight on Sunday to measure the ash concentration, German Aerospace Centre spokesperson Andreas Schuetz said. Any decision on air space closures will be made after that flight and Sunday's weather forecasts, said Raab.

A spokesperson for Lufthansa, Germany's biggest airline, Stefanie Stotz, welcomed the test flight and stressed that the situation so far didn't seem dramatic.

The Met Office, Britain's weather forecaster, said on Saturday the wind is expected to change direction on Tuesday, which would lower the risks of travel disruptions.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said five-day forecasts are now being published to give airlines and travellers "the best possible information".

However, he said the situation "remains fluid and these forecasts are always liable to change".