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Atlantic ash cloud blocks air routes

Eurocontrol says a plume of volcanic ash that forced some airports to close and disrupted flights within Europe over the weekend, has now dispersed.

But another band in the mid-Atlantic is still blocking the air routes between Europe and North America. Eurocontrol says trans-Atlantic flights will have to be rerouted around it, causing delays.

On Monday morning, all airports in Europe were reported to be operating normally. Eurocontrol says it expects approximately 28,500 flights to take place within the European area -- slightly below average for this time of year.

Meanwhile, airlines began reporting that their April passenger volume was down significantly, a drop blamed on the ash cloud that shut down much of Europe's air space for several days.

Air France KLM said in a an e-mailed statement that April passenger traffic fell 15.9 percent. Aer Lingus said that passenger numbers fell 27 percent in April. And BAA Ltd., the owner of London's Heathrow airport, said U.K. airports handled 21 percent fewer flights in April and that passenger numbers dropped 22.7 percent to 6.93 million passengers as volcanic ash disrupted traffic.

-- Washington Post wire reports

By Michael Bolden  |  May 10, 2010; 5:40 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Airports  
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