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Ireland, U.K. lift air restrictions

Ireland lifted all restrictions on its airports on Thursday after a volcanic ash cloud blew away from Europe after having disrupted flights for several days.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said it expected Irish airports to remain open until further notice. They were closed due to risk of ash ingestion in aircraft engines, though overflights of Ireland from Britain and Europe had not been banned.

Restrictions in Britain, where Scottish airports had been closed, were also lifted.

"Winds are blowing the ash cloud away from Ireland and Europe and the volcanic ash is, today, higher in the atmosphere than in previous days," the IAA said in a statement.

"This may affect transatlantic flight paths but will not halt services."

Much of Europe's air traffic was grounded last month because of the pall of ash from the erupting volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland. Some 100,000 flights were cancelled and millions of passengers stranded.

The closures cost Europe's airlines $2 billion to $3.35 billion, the European Commission has estimated.

The latest disruption signalled that travel hold-ups could continue into the summer holiday period because of ash being blown from the same volcano.

Tuesday was the first test of a European system of progressive closures, including partial no-fly zones, introduced after the ash cloud prompted a blanket ban that was criticised by airlines forced to ground thousands of flights in April.

-- Reuters

By Michael Bolden  |  May 6, 2010; 6:02 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Airports  
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