Airports in Iceland Will Reopen after Volcanic Eruption

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Iceland's top carrier has said that the country will reopen its main airport late Monday.  Aviation authorities had restricted flights over the island nation following a volcanic eruption that sent ash and dust into the atmosphere.

The new ash cloud stems from Grimsvotn, an active volcano that lies at the heart of Iceland's biggest glacier in the southeast corner of the country.  This is its largest eruption in 100 years, blasting roughly 100 times more material per second into the atmosphere than was released from Eyjafjallajokull last year.  The event led Icelandic air-traffic controllers to shut Keflavik International Airport, the country's main hub.  There is also a no-fly zone circling the volcano.

However, local carrier Icelandair said that if there are no further eruptions and the forecast remains accurate, Keflavik International Airport will reopen Monday with flights back on schedule by Tuesday.

It looks better today and we are hoping to reopen Keflavik airport later today or tonight. We are not quite sure at what hour, but at least we are looking at it being possible, aviation authority spokeswoman Hjordis Gudmundsdottir said.

Aside from Iceland, airspace closures took place in parts of Greenland and disrupted the paths of some cross-Atlantic flights.

Scotland's major airports could be next.   According to the Met Office, a thick cloud of volcanic ash is set to cover much of Scotland by tomorrow morning and drift over the North Sea by midweek.

It depends on how thick the cloud is and how big it is, said a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority.  If it is so big that it makes it impossible to get in or out of an airport, then flights will be cancelled.  But, if we are talking about small thick pockets, then it should be possible to fly around them.

The runways at Glasgow, Edinburgh, Prestwick, Aberdeen, and Inverness handle close to 50,000 passengers a day.

The widespread disruption from last year's Eyjafjallajokull volcano is still fresh on the minds of many European travelers.   The volcano erupted last April, forcing air-traffic controllers to ground commercial aircraft for about a week due to safety concerns.   However, the ash from this year's eruption is said to be heavier and thus falling to the ground more quickly.

Authorities said a dense cloud of ash blocked out daylight in some villages in southern Iceland and cars and livestock were covered in a thick grit.

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