Ash cloud over Europe could last for months
The volcanic ash cloud over Europe continued to delay flights across the continent on Friday. The ash cloud is affecting the Afghanistan war. Scientists say that the cloud could continue to last for weeks, or even months. Airports in the United Kingdom will remain closed until at least 1 a.m. on Saturday.
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Many heads of state, including President Obama, planned to fly to Poland for Sunday's funeral for President Lech Kaczynski, who was killed in a plane crash a week ago. But the closure of Krakow airport had prompted speculation that the service would be postponed. But it appears the funeral will proceed as planned.Skip to next paragraph
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"The will of the family is that in no circumstances should the date of the funeral ceremonies be changed, and that they should go ahead as planned," presidential aide Jacek Sasin told reporters Friday.
UK airspace closed until at least Saturday
The United Kingdom will keep their airspace closed to all but emergency flights until at least 1 a.m. on Saturday, reports CNN. Meanwhile, air transport and weather officials are discussing contingency plans in the event the ash cloud continues to create problems.
The closure has also affected US Air Force operations in support of Iraq and Afghanistan that are flown out of two bases in England. Dozens of fighter jets and tankers have been grounded until the situation changes.
The potential economic impact of the air travel delays has yet to be determined, but Associated Content reports that it may be similar to last month’s seven-day British Airports Authority strike. The strike did not close down all major airports though, so the ash cloud is expected to take an even greater toll on the airline industry. “As the world is in the midst of an economic recovery, the volcanic eruption could not have come at a more difficult time,” write the Associated Content.
Major airports across Europe remain closed as aviation officials wait for the ash cloud to disperse. Bloomberg offers a complete listing of airport closures by country.