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Volcanic ash cloud closes airports again

Iceland's troublesome volcano forces several airports to close in the UK, Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Several British airports, including Manchester and all those in Northern Ireland, will close from 12pm to 6pm GMT due to the volcanic ash cloud, air authorities announced today. Manchester is Britain's busiest airport outside London and among the 20 busiest in Europe. The London airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and City - are unaffected. The airports of Sligo, Donegal and Knock were also closed today and the airports of Dublin and Shannon were due to be open until at least 1200 GMT, said Irish civil aviation authorities. Other UK airports affected are regional air hubs like East Midlands, Liverpool, Leeds-Bradford, Doncaster and Humberside. They are largely in the north of England, while some Scottish airports, including their fourth busiest, Prestwick, and small island airports will shut. All Northern Ireland airports will close during this time, including Belfast International and Belfast City. National Air Traffic Services, which manages British airspace, said: "The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)'s no-fly zone required by the high density volcanic ash cloud will not affect London airports for the period 1300-1900 local time (1200-1800 GMT) today. "The no-fly zone for this period has moved east to a line stretching from Prestwick on the west coast to Humberside on the east coast and south to a line just north of Birmingham. "There are currently no other restrictions within UK airspace. "We are working closely with the Met Office and with the CAA, which agrees no-fly zones based on Met Office data, and will issue any further notice as necessary." * AFP

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