Australian flights resume as Chile volcano ash clears

Jun 22 2011

Flights are gradually resuming from airports across Australia after two days of cancellations caused by an ash cloud from a Chilean volcano.

Qantas and Virgin jets took off from Adelaide on Wednesday morning. Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney airports were expected to resume flights later.

But the ash is heading towards New Zealand, where disruption is expected.

Many travellers spent the night at airports as flights were disrupted for the second time in just over a week.

Last week, tens of thousands of people had their travel plans ruined as ash from the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano passed over several Australian cities and New Zealand.

By last Friday, all flights were running normally, but the ash cloud circled the Earth for a second time and caused further disruption.

This time, the plume hovered at between 20,000 and 40,000ft (6-13km), which experts advised was too low for airlines to fly underneath.

If volcanic ash particles are ingested into a jet engine, they accumulate and clog it with molten glass, which can cause the engine to shut down.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2011 BBC


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