Volcano Could Cancel Up to 500 Flights

But officials say this won't be as bad as last year's eruption
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2011 6:45 AM CDT
Grimsvotn Volcano Causes up to 500 Canceled Flights
A passenger sits by the check in desk after flights were canceled at Edinburgh Airport in Edinburgh, Scotland Tuesday, May 24, 2011.   (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

The volcanic ash cloud drifting from Iceland toward Europe has already caused more than 250 flights to be canceled, and that number could rise to 500, according to the European air traffic agency. Clouds have already affected Iceland and Scotland and could reach northern Europe within 48 hours, the Wall Street Journal reports. Northern Ireland, northern England, Scotland, and parts of Scandinavia could be affected. Even so, the groundings are not expected to reach the level they did after last year’s Eyjafjalljokull eruption.

Although President Obama was forced to shorten his visit to Ireland due to the ash cloud, the AP reports that an official does not expect the rest of his European tour to be affected. Meanwhile, crazy airline Ryanair (remember this?) called on air traffic controllers today to reopen airspace over Scotland, since the company did a verification flight and believes it is safe. The BBC has a list of airlines that have canceled flights, and notes that service is expected to be mostly back to normal by tomorrow. (Read more flight cancellation stories.)

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