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Further ash cloud disruption in southern Australia

Further ash cloud disruption in southern Australia

Virgin Australia and Qantas Airlines have both cancelled flights in Australia as aviation in the southern hemisphere continues to be affected by volcanic ash.

All flights in to and out of Sydney and Melbourne have been cancelled for the next 48 hours as ash from the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano in Chile circles the earth for the second time.

While some disruption was experienced last week, airlines are reporting the plume is too low to fly under, causing more disruption.

The ash cloud is hovering at between 20,000 and 40,000 feet above sea level.

Qantas said its policy was not to fly below the ash cloud, because it brought risks that it was simply not prepared to take.

Virgin Australia Group Executive Operations Sean Donohue said the airline was continuing to monitor the situation and would make changes to the schedule as soon as it was safe to do so.

“We apologise for the disruption to our Guests,” he said.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology estimates Adelaide will be affected for 24 hours, Canberra and Sydney for around 36 to 48 hours, and Melbourne for 36 to 48 hours from Wednesday.