International flights may resume today


Express April 19, 2010

LONDON: The European Union said on Monday that air traffic can return to about 50 percent of normal levels if weather forecasts confirm that skies over half the continent are emptying of volcanic ash.

The ash has been coming from a volcano in Iceland and has thrown global travel into chaos. French transport minister said European ministers will meet today to coordinate efforts to reopen airspace.

However, analysts say the prospects for a return to normal air travel remain far from clear. According to the International Air Transport Association, the shutdowns are costing the aviation industry at least 200 million dollars a day.

This announcement came as new tremors rocked Iceland on Monday, hurling a massive stream of ash into the sky. The volcanic plume reached a height of six to nine kilometres and was drifting to the south on Monday morning.

Iceland's Meteorological Office said tremors from the volcano had grown more intense, but added that there was no immediate threat of further eruptions.

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