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European airlines conducted test flights today through the volcanic ash that has paralysed air travel as they pressed for airspace to reopen and criticised governments for grounding jets.
European airlines conducted test flights today through the volcanic ash that has paralysed air travel as they pressed for airspace to reopen and criticised governments for grounding jets.

Airport closures

Latest updates on airport closures from around the world caused by the volcanic ash cloud.

British Airways has cancelled all inbound and outbound London flights scheduled for Monday. "Following further information from the Met Office about the path of the volcanic ash affecting UK airspace and airlines, there will continue to be severe disruption to our schedule," BA said in a brief statement. "All British Airways flights to and from London airports are cancelled on Sunday 18 and Monday 19 April." Scandinavian airline SAS said today all its flights would remain grounded until Tuesday with the exception of some flights from the US and a handful of flights in northern Norway. "SAS Scandinavian Airlines would like to inform its customers that all SAS flights are cancelled on April 18 and 19," the company said in a statement. The exception, it said, were "a few domestic flights in Norway (and) flights from the US departing on April 18 are not cancelled at this time." "SAS is investigating the possibility to reroute one or more of these flights to Norway," it added. Air France is to conduct a test flight over southwestern France later today to test the presence of volcanic ash in that section of the country, the French aviation authority DGAC said KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has conducted a test flight from Amsterdam to Dusseldorf, it said, with eight more to follow during today to measure the impact of volcanic ash on aircraft. "A Boeing 737 with 20 crew on board departed from Schiphol airport at 6.30am (4.30am GMT) this morning and landed safely in Dusseldorf in Germany," KLM spokeswoman Joyce Veekman said. KLM ran a similar test flight on Saturday evening within Dutch airspace, flying up to 41,000 feet (about 13,000 metres), with the KLM chief executive Peter Hartman saying afterwards that "we observed no irregularities".

All of Emirates' flights to the UK and most other European destinations are cancelled today with the exceptions of: Moscow, Athens, Larnaca, Malta and Istanbul. These destinations could also be subject to cancellations if the path of the ash cloud continues to spread. Currently, Emirates is not accepting passengers for travel to any European destinations (excluding Moscow, Athens, Larnaca, Malta and Istanbul) April 20. To date, 229 Emirates flights have been cancelled and over 73,000 passengers have been impacted by the ongoing disruption. All passengers are advised to check the status of their flight on www.emirates.com before leaving for the airport. Passengers are asked not to go to the airport if their flight has been cancelled. Etihad has cancelled all flights to the UK, Ireland, Russia, and the majority of its European destinations until further notice. Etihad is accepting passengers for the following European destinations: Athens, Istanbul and Larnaca.

Austria has extended a ban on air traffic at least midnight today but opened airspace above 12,000 metres to allow overflights. Ireland has ordered its airspace closed until midday on Monday. Britain has extended a ban on all flights in its airspace until 6am on Monday. Barcelona and 10 other airports in the north of Spain are closed until at least 2pm. Bosnian airspace closed until further notice. Czech airspace and Prague airport will stay closed until at least 10am on Monday. Danish airspace will remain closed until at least midnight today. Estonia has closed its airspace until at least midday today. The Netherlands' airspace is closed until at least midday today. Some Norwegian airspace is open.

Bulgaria closed its airspace from 6am until further notice. German airspace will remain closed until midday today. Hungarian airspace is closed until 10am tomorrow. Iceland's airports remain open. All Polish airspace is closed until further notice. No commercial flights will be permitted in Finland until 3pm on Monday at the earliest. Paris airports and about two dozen others in northern France will remain closed until 6am on Monday. Brussels Airlines cancelled all flights until midday on Monday. Belgian airspace remains closed until midday today. Swiss air space closed until 2pm today. Planes using instruments can fly across Switzerland as long as they stay above 20,000 feet (6,000 metres). Airspace in northern Italy closed until 6am on Monday. Slovakian airspace is closed until midnight tonight. Some of Sweden's airspace is open but few commercial flights are allowed to fly.

Croatia extended closure of airspace to the whole country overnight. In Slovenia international airports in Maribor and Portoroz are closed. The country's airspace is closed until further notice. Serbia and Montenegro airspace including southern Adriatic Sea closed until further notice. In Belarus all flights are banned until at least 1pm. At the Minsk National Airport most flights to Europe have been cancelled. All Ukrainian airports closed until further notice except for Simferopol in Crimea. In Russia about 185 flights are delayed or have been cancelled. Qantas airline in Australia said its five flights that normally fly from Australia to Europe via Asian cities were flying Saturday and Sunday only as far as the Asian stops. In New Zealand Air New Zealand flights to London remain cancelled for a second day, with an estimated 2,000 passengers waiting to leave the country.

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