West-bound flights cancelled due to ash clouds in Europe

West-bound flights cancelled due to ash clouds in Europe

Airplanes stand idle at London's Gatwick Airport, England, Friday, April 16, 2010, as flights are cancelled. The airport was closed due to a cloud of volcanic ash in the upper atmosphere above much of Europe, emanating from a volcanic eruption near the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland. AP

Going by the latest advisory from British Air Navigation Service Provider NATS and its counterpart Eurocontrol, Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines have cancelled flights on April 17 to and from London, Paris, Brussels, Chicago, Frankfurt, Toronto, Newark and New York.

These include Air India's long-haul non-stop flights from Delhi and Mumbai to New York and vice versa, which fly through the affected airspace on the Trans-Atlantic route.
Ash clouds from Icelandic volcano continued to hang over European skies today shutting down major airport hubs like Frankfurt, London and Paris for the second day.
Flight cancellations by foreign carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Delta and some others have also led to parking space congestion at Delhi and Mumbai airports where many planes have been parked.

Besides the UK and Nordic nations, airspace over Germany, France, Netherlands, Ireland and Poland have been severely affected and airports there "zero rated", which means there can be no flight operations.

While Air India has cancelled all its eight flights to the UK, Europe and North America for the next 48 hours, all flights of Jet Airways to the UK and North America via Brussels, earlier rescheduled, have been cancelled. Kingfisher Airlines also cancelled two flights to London.

The flights from the USA to Europe and India have also been delayed indefinitely.
Due to cancellation and rescheduling of flights, parking bays at Mumbai and Delhi airports have got congested as at least 17 large long-haul planes of Indian and foreign carriers are parked there. Two of the aircraft are also parked on a taxiway in Mumbai.
A spokesperson said Lufthansa has cancelled all flights from India to Frankfurt, but those from Delhi and Mumbai to Munich are currently as per schedule.

Similarly, Singapore Airlines has advised customers traveling to and from Europe to check the status of their flights before proceeding to the airport.

The NATS statement on the Icelandic volcanic eruption said "the cloud of volcanic ash continues to cover much of the UK and the eruption in Iceland continues".
"In general, the situation cannot be said to be improving with any certainty as the forecast affected area appears to be closing in from east to west. We continue to work closely with airports, airlines, and the rest of Europe to understand and mitigate the implications of the volcanic eruption", the NATS advisory said, adding the situation would be continuously reviewed and operators kept informed.

With large number of flights being cancelled, rescheduled or diverted due to restriction of airspace over Europe, the situation at IGI airport became worse as no bays were left in the apron area to park the aircraft.

In a bid to decongest the parking area, DIAL had diverted some incoming international cargo flights to nearby airports.

"The parking bays available at the International cargo apron were then used to park incoming passenger aircraft and passengers were ferried to the terminals by coaches," an airport official said, adding still there was shortage of parking bays.

DIAL has decided to park five wide-bodied planes on the adjoining taxiway, near the runway 28 which is currently being upgraded, after the passengers have disembarked at the terminal, a DIAL official said.

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