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Munich closure to ground German air travel

AFP/DDP/DPA/The Local · 16 Apr 2010, 19:25

Published: 16 Apr 2010 08:42 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 Apr 2010 19:25 GMT+02:00

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The Bavarian capital's airport was to stop operations starting 8 pm German time, shutting the only remaining international hub in Germany.

No flights were landing or departing from the Frankfurt airport - the biggest in Germany and the centre for Lufthansa's worldwide operations. All German airports would remain closed until 8 am on Saturday, air traffic officials said.

But a spokesman for Lufthansa said all of the airline's flights in Germany would be grounded until at least noon on Saturday. Only then would officials determine if it was safe to fly.

"The concerned passengers are asked not to go to the airport," Lufthansa said in a statement.

Earlier on Friday, flights were grounded at Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Bremen, Hannover, Stuttgart and countless other smaller airports.


The ash floating thousands of kilometres from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano has also forced the unprecedented closure of airports across Europe.

The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) said in a statement it expected around 11,000 flights on Friday in European airspace, down from the normal 28,000.

Besides the airports closed in Germany, airspace is not open to civilian aircraft travel in Ireland, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, the north of France including all Paris airports, and parts of Poland including Warsaw airport, Eurocontrol said.

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It remains unclear when conditions will improve enough to resume air traffic in the region.

Radar images from the German Weather Service show the ash cloud moving south, spokesperson for Germany’s DFS air traffic authority Kristine Kelek told news agency DPA. But there is currently no news on whether southern airports including Munich may also have to shut down, she said.

Experts believe that the ash could cause aircraft engine failure, adhering to moving parts and causing them to seize up.

Meanwhile the volcano in southern Iceland continues to belch ash and smoke into the atmosphere, forcing hundreds of nearby residents to evacuate, the country’s foreign minister said late on Thursday.

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AFP/DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:42 April 16, 2010 by margit
Stuck in a place without TV news from Europe. Imagine that this will be a HUGE blow for the world economy. So far I have not heard anything except for interplanetjane's comment. Feel very lucky as this is the very first April in years that I'm not in Europe. Cannot even think how awful it is to be stuck at an airport indefinitely. A new version of hell. Sure hope that I see everything too negatively and there won't be any serious consequences of this catastrophe.
10:51 April 16, 2010 by Fatz Lewinski
Enjoy margit

I have colleagues Budapest. They just told me that the airport there is closed for 8 hours.
11:01 April 16, 2010 by margit
Just read that Lufthansa is NOT insured - that means none of the airlines are insured - potentially a big loss, not just for the airlines. Shoot - seems like all the economic bad news come from Iceland.
11:37 April 16, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Imagine -- tiny Iceland wreaking havoc on the world economy. Who'd a thunk it?
12:21 April 16, 2010 by iseeking
Is there a risk that the ash would ruin or at least pollute crops? During mid-80's Chernobyl episode, imports from Europe were banned by many countries. Can this happen again? How far and wide might the ash spread?
12:42 April 16, 2010 by AirForceGuy
The UK and Germany should just declare a state of disaster and then ask for American emergency aid! They'll give it to just about ANYBODY!
14:10 April 16, 2010 by chimpansi
crap always flies out of iceland.. whether its in finance or even damn wind its filled with crap!!
14:28 April 16, 2010 by wood artist
Hmmm. Sunday flight in doubt. Likely stuck in airport while the bills mount. Not real happy 'bout this, but I don't blame Lufthansa.


The danger from Chernoblyl was the radioactive material in the cloud. Having lived through the cloud from Mt St Helens in the State of Washington (US) this is not a big deal for crops and such. That was much worse because it didn't go as high and dropped quickly, covering the ground and roads with inches of ash.

People wore dust masks, and other than washing it off your car and changing the engine's air filter, it was just a bother. This is much more disbursed and when it falls it will likely just be a light dusting. Only someone with an existing lung condition might be bothered. As for the spread...who knows? It's up to the wind to decide where it will go, and up to the mountain to decide how long it pumps it out.

Not looking forward to life in the airport (again)!

16:52 April 16, 2010 by dbert4
"Imagine that this will be a HUGE blow for the world economy."

Why would the closure of European airports represent a blow at all to the WORLD economy?

Don't you think that people who adapt well to regular business closing such as Sunday and other general holidays and vacations can't deal with a minor air traffic interruption?
17:51 April 16, 2010 by AirForceGuy
I think this was brought on by the Lufthansa pilots threatening to strike!
18:22 April 16, 2010 by Beynch
I always felt that these Icelanders were a menace to civilization. How dare they unleash a destructive volcano to the great inconvenience of sophisticated Europeans? Let's face it, these Vikings are not exactly known for being a benign group. History tells us they were destructive, they pillaged, raped, and plundered. It's time to re-think our relationship with these barbaric Nordsmen. Keep them out of EU at any cost! There's no telling what they might do if they are allowed in. We can start by introducing visa requirements on all Icelanders who wish to visit Europe.
20:51 April 16, 2010 by wood artist

Perhaps you don't realize how interconnected the world truly is. This is much more than the local greengrocer being closed. Literally hundreds of thousands of people did not or can not go where they needed to be, and that means business that couldn't be conducted, hotels that didn't fill, meals that weren't eaten, etc.

If you happened to be one of those people...which I am...maybe you'd have a more complete picture of what this does. Companies will lose millions of dollars or Euros...and it won't be replaced.

22:06 April 16, 2010 by Bensonradar
Iceland, send us your cash, not ash
23:51 April 16, 2010 by wxman
This should be the final nail in the global warming coffin. The ash will spread out and stay in suspension in the atmosphere for 2-3 years causing overall cooling by blocking sunlight.
23:57 April 17, 2010 by wmm208
Serves the EU right trying to make Iceland join the broken European Union.
18:34 April 20, 2010 by ColoSlim
Lots of cargo is waiting to move as well. Volcanos can continuously erupt for years. That would be bad.
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