Saturday, April 17, 2010

Newsy: Ash Clouds Close European Airports

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A volcanic eruption in Iceland has created widespread flight cancellations for many European airports and it could last a while.
We have perspectives from BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Daily Mail, and The Guardian.
The ash clouds have many travelers angry -- The BBC talked to some people who were put out by Mother Nature: “Everything’s cancelled, so we’re all just kind of stranded in different places, thinking okay, what so we do now”
It’s not the visibility that’s the main issues – CNBC reports it’s the stuff that’s in the ash clouds: “They’re saying that at the levels that the airplane levels off at, there’s not only just the dust, but there’s also ice and glass and crystals that can, that get sucked into the engine…and failure…up into the sky.”
A blogger for The Daily Mail says officials should have known about it sooner and cancelled flights earlier: “They might not be able to predict a barbeque summer but surely they can tell 24 hours in advance from which direction the wind will blow. At least those of us who were able to move travel plans forward could have done so and thereby avoided the nationwide airport closure.”
It’s only a matter of time before the ash clouds clear out of the area and flights get back on track – only problem – no one knows when that will be. CNN and theBBC discuss very different timetables: “If this is it and its stopped right now and doesn’t do anything else, I would imagine, I’m speculating somewhat here, but I imagine you’re looking at sort of 24 to 48 hours to clear at least UK airspace.” (CNN): “Experts say the Icelandic volcano that caused airports across Europe to ground flights on Thursday could continue to erupt on-and-off for months, potentially meaning continued delays and closures.” (BBC)
One other note. Despite the large amount of coverage on how the volcano has inconvenienced British travelers, The Guardian is one of few sources to touch on the people directly affected by the eruption: “As many as 800 people had to be evacuated after the...volcano in southern Iceland erupted… Most of those evacuated were local farmers. Some were allowed to return to feed their livestock but much farming land has been destroyed.”
Ironically, MSNBC reports Iceland’s airport is still open and ready for business: “The cloud of ash and steam is actually blowing to the east and to the south, but the airport in Iceland remains open, so if you’re approaching it from the west, from the United States for example, you can still land in Iceland even though most of Europe is already been shut down.”


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