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Iceland Volcano: Impact on the Airlines

(Article on the airlines and the Iceland volcano updated with latest news on ash cloud disruptions)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Three major European airports have resumed services on Monday, May 17, after a thick cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland cleared up and a no-fly zone was lifted, the Associated Press reported.

As many as 1,000 flights in Europe were disrupted, mainly by closures at London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. Though flights have resumed at these hubs, authorities are urging travelers to contact their airlines before heading to the airport, warning that it would take time for the airlines to clear the backlog of delayed flights.

[MAY 17: Travelers check the departure information board outside Terminal 3 of Heathrow Airport on May 17, 2010 in London, England. A cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland has again caused disruption to UK flights.]

Bloomberg reported that British Airways had experienced significant disruptions to it services, while major Europe discount carrier Ryanair had to cancel over 200 flights. Air France-KLM had to redirect flights bound for various cities in Europe.

Cathay Pacific Airways (CPCAY) redirected two flights headed for London and one bound for Amsterdam from Hong Kong, and Singapore Airlines diverted two European-bound flights as well, according to Bloomberg.

Air traffic control agency Eurocontrol said 28,000 flights were expected in Europe on Monday, roughly 1,000 less than usual.

On Friday, May 14, CNN reported that ash from the Eyjafjallajokul volcano had led to the closure of Iceland's main airport, Keflavik International Airport, in Reykjavík.

As demonstrated by the ash clouds' return this month after a period of silence following its April outburst, they could be gone one moment and back again another, unannounced. It appears, then, that airlines and travelers will have to deal with the Iceland Eyjafjallajokul volcanic ash cloud nuisance for an indefinite amount of time, given the challenges of predicting where the wind will carry the debris next.
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