Ash cloud update: German airspace reopens

Ash cloud update: German airspace reopens

Air traffic over northern Germany is returning to normal after being disrupted by volcanic ash from Iceland.

Planes have resumed taking off from and landing at Berlin’s airport, Hamburg and Bremen after being closed this morning, which resulted in the cancellation of about 700 flights.

The German authorities closed Bremen and Hamburg airports in the early hours of Wednesday. Traffic at Berlin’s airports was halted at about 1100 (0900 GMT).

There are no flight restrictions elsewhere in Europe, Eurocontrol said.

Earlier, German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer told public television ARD: “Security is the top priority but we can say that the situation will get better later today.”

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The head of the country’s airport organisation said Europe-wide rules were needed, as Germany currently imposes tougher restrictions.

Air traffic in Norway, Denmark and the UK was disrupted on Tuesday, with about 500 cancellations. Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England were hardest hit.
The volcano began erupting last Saturday, sending clouds of ash high into the air. The ash particles from Grimsvotn are larger than those from Eyjafjallajokull, and so fall to the ground more quickly. Therefore less disruption is expected.

European Union transport commissioner Siim Kallas said: “We do not at this stage anticipate widespread airspace closure and prolonged disruption like we saw last year.”

The Met Office said however that if Grimsvotn volcano continued to erupt at “current variables”, much of the country could be affected by ash on Friday, with flights being potentially disrupted.

A forecaster at Iceland’s meteorological service said Grimsvotn was producing less ash on Tuesday and the plume had decreased in height to about 5,000m.