All flights between New Zealand and Britain have been disrupted as eruptions from an Icelandic volcano clog the airspace over Europe.
Hundreds of thousands of passengers have been disrupted as northern Europe is turned into a no-fly zone.
All airports in the UK and Irish Republic, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Holland are closed and France is planning to close 24 airports across its northern region. Flights in and out of Switzerland and Spain have been disrupted.
Flights NZ1 and NZ38 will not depart from London’s Heathrow Airport today. An inbound flight, NZ39, due from Auckland has been diverted to Frankfurt.
The European air safety organisation says the disruption to flights could last another two days.
Experts say it is a very dangerous situation for planes because volcanic gas clouds consist of very fine fragments of rock and other glass-like substances which can get into engines and cause them to shut down.
In 1982 a British Airways flight across Indonesia, which was heading to Auckland, had all four engines fail as it went through a volcanic dust cloud.
The Icelandic volcano, situated below the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in central Iceland, is spewing out a plume of ash up to 11 kilometres into the atmosphere. It is the first time within living memory that a natural disaster has caused such an international disruption and the eruptions show no sign of abating after 40 hours of activity.
on 15/04/2010 9:20pm
Below is the reason this closure has been envoked..