Irish carrier Ryanair has cancelled all flights due for departure from the UK until Monday, as the cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland continues to spread across Europe.
With no sign of the potentially hazardous cloud abating, the airline has also decided to cancel all flights from Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, Northern France, Northern Germany, Poland and the Baltic States until 13:00 on April 19th.
Announcing the cancellations Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said: “This spreading cloud of volcanic ash is an unprecedented event in Ryanair’s 26 year history, and we are continuing to work around the clock to minimise its effects on our schedules.
“All of Ryanair’s flights in central and Southern Continental Europe are operating as normal, but we cannot take any safety risks with our aircraft, passengers or people in the British Isles, Scandinavia or the Northern Europe coastline, as long as current meteorological forecasts suggest that the prevailing winds will continue to spread this volcanic ash across the airspace of these countries.”
The decision comes despite earlier suggestions from NATS British airspace may be able to reopen as early as 7:00 tomorrow morning.
Ryanair explained the decision has been taken in order to allow passengers to apply for a full refund or rebook onto flights operating later next week, when Ryanair hopes that improved weather conditions may allow normal flight services to resume.
“We hope that by cancelling all Ryanair flights over these affected countries until Monday, we can give passengers as much notice as possible to allow them to apply for refunds or rebook alternative Ryanair flights later next week, instead of – as has been the case for the last two days – allowing people to rebook on flights tomorrow, only to find that those rebooked flights are then cancelled as a result of this continuing volcanic ash problem,” concluded Mr O’Leary.