Greenland airspace partly closes over volcanic ash

Greenland airspace partly closes over volcanic ash

Naviair spokeswoman Helle Kogsbell told AFP that authorities had partly closed Greenland airspace yesterday "due to the spread of ash from the Icelandic volcano to the east coast of Greenland."

She said the airspace would remain shut until at least 0530 IST today.

"The space, up to 6,000 metres (nearly four miles) of altitude, from north of Kulusuk... to Constable Point in the East, remains closed to air traffic," Kogsbell said.

Naviair is responsible for the airspace over Greenland only up to 6,000 kilometres, while Canada and Iceland have control over airspace above that.

Denmark was the first country besides Iceland to close any airspace after the Grimsvoetn volcano began erupting late Saturday, but European aviation authorities have been closely monitoring the giant column of ash, amid fears it could like last year's eruption wreak havoc on air travel across the continent.

European safety experts have warned that the ash could reach Scotland by tomorrow before sweeping across Britain to hit France and Spain two days later.

Norwegian airport operator Avinor meanwhile said today it planned to halt flights between mainland Norway and the country's Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

"The cloud of ash will reach the waters separating continental Norway and Svalbard," Avinor spokesman Ove Narvesen told AFP.

"There will therefore not be any flights to or from Svalbard today," he said, adding there was also "a certain risk that western Norway will be affected but it is too early to say."
Only two flights were scheduled to fly to or from Svalbard today.